Plot twist: I happened upon Max Goldberg's Reddit account last night, and apparently the shutdown was entirely unplanned. As in, he wasn't even aware it was offline until somebody sent him a news article about it several days afterward. He also PM'd me his thinking when asked:
It was unintentional but also maybe it's just time. I haven't worked on it seriously in almost a decade which left it vulnerable. I sort of want to make it a read-only archive and update it to not rely on flash. I haven't made any decisions what to do yet though.FWIW, I suggested it might be better to keep it offline and rely on the various archives to preserve it, because at this point the only real "community" still active there were alt-right edgelords and mentally unstable people unhealthily obsessed with obscure internal drama.
Also, he's since updated the site with this message:
In an attempt to clear up the confusion, Motherboard got in touch with Max Goldberg, the site’s creator and caretaker for almost 20 years, on a Discord chatroom that he set up to talk to a very confused community about the site. Goldberg said he doesn’t know if YTMND is coming back, and what shape it’ll be in if it does.
The last backup is five years old apparently.
Kind of nuts that the date he chose as the far off future was only one month off from when the site went down.