As Maine Goes, the conservative web forum that shuttered last year after a 15-year run, has relaunched.  

Lance Dutson, a Maine-based political consultant and web developer, purchased the site from Scott Fish, who launched AMG in 1998 as an email newletter. Over time the site grew into the go-to place for conservative political chatter with many of its users posting anonymously. 

Dutson, who helped Fish build the site backend using the open source Drupal platform, said the old AMG will be integrated into a new one. For commenters of the old AMG, that means their old logins will still work and there wil be archive of all the old posts. There will be some small cosmetic changes, Dutson said, with more aggregating of headlines on the home page.

Dutson said the biggest change will be in registering to comment. Before AMG commenters were screened. Now the site will allow people to comment through a registration form. Duston said he hoped the change would encourage more participation and a broader debate.

“A robust political debate is the cornerstone to a free society,” said Dutson. “AsMaineGoes has provided a platform for that debate for almost two decades, and I’m happy we were able to find a way to continue it. In the coming months, we’ll be working hard to find new and better ways to extend that opportunity for debate to a more diverse audience, and to provide a one-stop-shop for political conversation in Maine.”

Dutson, who launched one of Maine’s first political blogs in 2006, the Maine Web Report, will have a decent foundation from which to build. He said the site had nearly 2,000 registered users and more than 300,000 unique visitors per year.