The Verge in Transition?
First, I know there are many posts on this subject because I just read a bunch looking for perspective. I haven't really followed the Meta conversations going on but I've been around since the Engadget days and followed the founders here like many others. So here are my thoughts...
The Verge seems to be less exciting, the recent writing is flat and the writers are characterless. The structure and production values of the site are still top notch, better then any other tech site. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly the problem is but everything seems less focused. The reviews are stale and un-opinionated, the news is little more the press releases and the non tech stuff is often (not always) unoriginal. After early success and growth the site is transitioning to an established media organization and in the process losing what makes it special.
The founding team is breaking up after only a short run, and this site was supposed to be their perfect vision. So what happened? The easy answer is people move on, new families, new priorities and other interests. But I think there is a more fundamental problem with the idea of The Verge that has created this situation. I think the founders had a vision of grandeur but no grand vision. They wanted the site to be bigger and broader then it should have started but with a big backer footing the bill, they couldn't self limit.
Josh, Nilay and Paul where known for tech news and that's why people followed them. However, their vision went beyond that, including things like 'culture' and other vague terms. So the problem was they created a site even they couldn't fully describe, that grew too fast and without proper direction. No surprise then that they themselves lost focus and got burnt out (that's my personal perspective).
They should have started with a small team, keeping the focus on tech. Using their connections and unique perspectives to provide concise commentary on the tech world. Grow a community and add writers at a slow pace that focuses on the right people not quantity. When the time was right they could add new clearly directed divisions focused on different topics with separate management.
The Verge has a great community of readers and offers an awesome platform for discussing tech but I think it has hit it's peak and it will slowly decrease in quality without a new defined direction. When I find more thoughtful opinions in the forums and comments than in the articles, something needs to change. Hopefully they can pull it together somehow because my other options aren't much more promising.
Some may wonder why I and others care about the founding team and other Meta issues. The answer is because they involved the community personally in the journey to build this new place. They asked us to follow them, and told personal stories to keep us engaged. So when after only a short time they start to move on, it is a bit of a let down. This site and community could have had a decades long run, like Wired or other great tech publications. Unfortunately I don't see signs of that happening. It feels like their immense early success made them lose perspective and humility. Time will tell.