Because it's always a good idea to tell people you love them if you do.
I can lay no claim to ten years as a user, E2, but I've been here a while. And I've avoided GTKY during that time, so hopefully I'm allowed a small, self-indulgent meander through some memories. Ten years. It's unreal. It is no exaggeration to claim that this website brought me up, and that it changed my life.
Eight point four years ago, I was a naive, geeky, 15 year old girl. My brother introduced me to a website, and its front page was a piece of writing that made me laugh. While that piece of writing left the site fairly rapidly (culled in the days of "earn your bullshit"), the fondness I first felt for this place has remained. Eight point four years later, with high school done, three degrees, various relationships, and the beginning of my career behind me, I can't imagine how much different my life would have been without this place. It is to E2 that I credit my remarkably non-emo teenage years and my sanity during exams. This place and its users shaped my personality, and I feel blessed to have been (and to still be) a part of its evolution.
Listen, E2: I still can't claim to understand you. I don't know what makes you tick, be it some of the most generous outpourings of love that this world has seen, or some of the most catty or heartbreaking moments in internet history. I've always tried to remain a fairly impartial observer to both sides, largely because of my love of privacy, and partially because I'm a hopeless idealist. I've never tried to leave this site. I can't imagine I ever will, for as long as it exists. This three dimensional type of writing is by far my favourite forum.
But listen, E2: I love you. I love the words you give me, kind and harsh. I love the advice you gave me as I grew up and started to figure out who I was as a person. I love the comments on nodes, the emails, the connections that exist through pixels and wires: completely illogical, and completely real. I love the fact that you keep me on my toes; that every time I sign online, there's a surprise. And I would like to take this moment to thank you.
Thank you for barnification, for civil wars, for raising the bar, for noding bullshit. Thank you for expanding my horizons, introducing me to music, arts, sciences, literature, poetry and everything in between. Thank you to the users who spent so many hours inspiring and helping me (I hope you know who you are). Thank you to all the people who gave their skills and patience to run this place - you are appreciated. Thank you to the fled noders - I miss you more than you realise. Thank you to the new noders, too - it's beautiful to watch you grow, and sift through our convoluted history, defining this place in your own terms.
So happy birthday, E2. I like it here.