We are considering removing the facility for games to be made private.
Private threads and private tags will still be around and function as they always have.
There are some technical issues with private games which arise periodically which require admin attention to fix by hand edits. A few days ago we discussed and began looking at coding a fix. It's a significant amount of effort to apply the fix.
Later when fixing one of the problems by hand it became apparent that a lot of games now seem to move from advertising to private in a way that wasn't envisaged. We seem to be moving gradually towards "private" being the norm for games which have finished advertising.
We discussed the idea of not allowing games which have attached adverts to be made private. The code to maintain private games has tentacles affecting many other parts of the code meaning the effort required to maintain this feature for the small number of unadvertised games becomes prohibitive.
A significant problem with private games is the restriction it paces on the ability of GMs to check out players existing games and vice versa for players checking GMs. Among the most effective actions which can be taken to avoid failed games is checking out a member's existing games and the growth in the unintended use of private status increases game failure rates.
Another problem is that games are joint property formed by the collaboration of players and GM, if a player is removed from the game he/she no longer has access to what is his/her joint intellectual property.
EDIT: Part of the issue is, it seems, we're not doing a very good idea of enforcing private games as currently envisioned. Arella's post reveals that, and also makes the point about all the tendrils this feature needs to have, and the additional effort in supporting it going forward.
All of which leads us to the position that our best course of action is to remove the private game feature altogether but we didn't want to go ahead without discussing with the membership first.
PLEASE READ THIS EXTENSION AND UPDATE - Rigo