Hey! I'm the person who made the suggestion (as a PT/board member of AVEN). I felt it was important to have the blessing of the community before making an official bid (we'd also need to check tech things on our side, and have the agreement of the board as a whole), hence Blue Phoenix's post. The reservations people are expressing is precisely why I wanted to have this discussion. Unless these are resolved to most people's satisfaction, we won't go ahead.
To introduce myself, my name is Michael. I've identified as asexual since I was 15. I first identified as aromantic live on UK national radio much later on (severely surprising myself - I'd always identified as heteroromantic before that): I was in my late 20s. Now a decade later, I will be the first to admit that my vis-ed/activism work is still far more asexuality focussed than aromanticism. I've never really felt like discussing my aromanticism for some reason, which is part of the reason I didn't join the site before. However I was always glad to know it was there, and the thought of it being lost was a very unpleasant one, especially as there don't seem to be many other major aro forums out there.
To address a few things, as far as I'm concerned aromanticism and asexuality are two different but highly related things. Sexual and romantic orientation are separate but there is no denying that the history of the two movements is highly interconnected, and most likely this will continue no matter what happens with Arocalypse. People still often learn about aromanticism through the asexual community. Many ace conferences are now explicitly ace & aros focussed (the UK asexuality conference being an important current exception, though this is under review). I see the relationship between the ace and aro community as much like that between the ace and broader LGBTQ+ community in many ways. I think we amplify each other's voices, though there is always a danger of a lesser known identity (such as aromanticism) being drowned out - something we need to work to prevent.
Second, the point about core values. This is something we have struggled with a lot on AVENen. The key core value that causes a LOT of controversy is our stand on allowing people to self-define their sexual, romantic orientation and gender identity, and asking people to respect that in others. You may have seen the statement we made a few years ago on this topic and the heat it generated:
Or more recently:
The stand also extends to anti-elitism and the inclusion of grey-asexuals and grey-aros as part of the asexual/aromantic spectrum. This is really important to us - the board of directors. We have been trying to effect a culture change on AVENen in this direction, but it's a long and gradual process. Similarly we'd expect the same here, if we took the site on.
We can be really flexible about a lot of things - the ToS and its enforcement would largely be upto the site admins/mods here, who may not even be AVENen members. The admin/mods would still be Arocalypse community members: AVEN would only step in and help recruitment if that was needed. However the invalidation thing is one area we would always take a strong line.
To summarise, if the reservation is that the invalidation/gatekeeping subculture on AVENen might come over to Arocalypse, we'd do everything in our power to prevent that. If the reservation is the opposite - namely that a takeover would mean the mod team has to clamp down on invalidation or gatekeeping or elitism on Arocalypse, and that isn't wanted here - then yes, that is a good reason AVEN shouldn't take over, as this is a point we are not going to compromise on.
I do hear what people are saying about wanting independence, which is again why we're having this discussion. A similar thing happened with transyada.net - a group of trans people migrated there from AVEN many years ago because of the transphobia on the latter. The transphobia was absolutely not something the leadership of AVEN at the time wanted, though arguably they didn't do enough to clamp down on it. The same may well be true of anti-aromanticism on AVEN, though I haven't seen as many complaints about that over the years as transphobia. The only assurance I can give is that the leadership of AVEN are uniformly supportive of aro visibility and inclusion. To those who have had sh**ty experiences on AVENen, I can only say I'm sorry, and we take responsibility for that.
I'd be interested to know if any of the above goes some way to addressing people's concerns. As already noted, the AVEN takeover is only one idea and I'm sure there are other ways of keeping the site running if the community as a whole prefers to avoid this route.