I hope I don't miss out on too much here. I am flying down to Virginia to see the folks and siblings for a week. I should get some time on the PC, I'm sure.
Tom - are you saying you do not like the GM prefix for the regular GMs? Should GMs be typographically identified in any way, then? Should players have two accounts: a GM account and a normal player account so that a player can participate in either way, but so as to not confuse other players?
With regard to variants as Tom noted,I think that variants are actually quite popular on some of the judge sites, such as vDip. Tom, you have some really great ideas, so I hope you continue to participate hear, feeding our brains with food for though (sorry for the cliche). So, yes. timing is all. We get a few games going and about half-way through some games, we launch the tournament. Inviting participants from other established sites is cool. They wouldn't have to be as teams, but we could score not only the players, but the "home sites" in the tourney on how well the number of players from each "home site" do in the tourney. I reckon that is sort of like teams, but without any formal structure. Oh, heck, maybe they would be de facto teams, at that.
You know, as you point out, WWIV is very popular. And you'll be happy to know that you are given authorship credit on vDiplomacy.com, too. It's bare-bones, of course, without the extra. However, it is very popular and has been played at least 28 times there. I am not real big on mega games, I'll confess, but I'll certainly do my part to join in to help get things going.
Minister X - not sure what peeved you to leave, unless it was the opinion forums? I hope you are rejuvenated enough to return and bring back some of your glorious maps and variants for us to play. I suppose that anybody who champions new variants is going to come across advocates pro and con. If so, I hope you allow the more hurtful comments to have no more validity and solidity than a tv reality show.