So. It seems the world didn't end, huh? That's... fortunate.
I write this node mostly from yesterday, because yesterday was locked. I always have a quiet chuckle whenever I see a node locked... It makes me wonder about what could have happened behind the scenes, to have the situation come to that. Some of the reasons seem obvious: yesterday was the public date that was prognosticated to be the end of the world (again). But what actually happened? Was there a flood of poor nodes, now nuked from orbit, that served only to continue inflating the pre-apocalyptic hype, which The Management decided were no longer fit to serve on active E2 duty? Was there some secret conference wherein The Elder Ones convened and decided that a preemptive blockade was the best defense against the coming tidal wave of QUALITY noding action?
Today will be my first day off from school for the Holiday Break. It has well deserved its capitalization: this past week has been hell and a half when it comes to concentration of assessment activities: History, English, and Math each had a full period devoted to some test or assignment that was begun when we sat down and handed in when we stood back up at the end of class. I won't pretend that it was particularly difficult: the English and History papers were both structured in such a way as to favour the ability to think on one's feet as opposed to the compulsive rote memorization that many of my classmates tend to see it as; and likewise, Math is quite honestly the easiest thing on the world to me.
A short anecdote, regarding math. In my Grade 10 year, I was taking a Grade 11 Functions course, and found sufficient cause for boredom to cease paying attention to the lessons and teaching myself calculus from a small tattered Coles Notes. That is to say, I managed a 98 in the course while learning completely different material, by myself. Not that I mean to brag or anything, but I just feel this sort of characterization does me more justice than "the guy that gets high scores on math contests nobody's ever heard of". Suffice to say, this pre-Break math test was nothing special. But still, the atmosphere is taxing. And besides, the privilege of not having to rise each morning at 6:00 is beautiful.
I have only just yesterday (quoth yesterday, "today") learned about the unfortunate story of Hermetic. I have no personal connection to him, nor can I particularly remember any of his writeups. But it seems to have been a huge, sad thing, his suicide, when it happened. And I can appreciate that, in the same way that I can appreciate the tragedies of the passing of Einstein, Walt Disney and Severus Snape. My condolences to those who knew him.
Of course, in a fit of selfishness, I then thought about what might end up happening should I die or otherwise disappear off the internet.
See, I have a strong opinion on the debate about whether or not privacy is a right, especially on the internet. I have used many websites, some of which are perfectly content with nothing but a handle not yet chosen by the existing userbase and an email with which to validate your account and so on. Of course, I'm also familiar with websites that encourage the use of your real-life name as your handle, such as Facebook and the C2.com wiki, though for two different reasons. Facebook is busy conglomerating all of everyone's personal information and giving it to everybody else, but C2, being a Wiki editable by anyone, simply wants to enforce a sense of commitment in its contributors, so that they won't be tempted to post something insipid or detrimental. As much as this sort of lack of faith in the userbase might be a time-tested scheme that is known to work, with respect to reducing the amount of vandalism or spam, I am somewhat partial to taking hearty offense to that sort of thing.
By whose authoritative decree are you obligated to use your real life identity on the internet? The ability to be someone else and not yourself is very important on the internet, I think, because of the kind of stuff that is done on the internet, and the fact that if you or someone else does something to compromise your identity on the internet, that can have real life repercussions. Whether it's someone discovering and then posting about the kind of gentleman's literature you prefer to read, or leaving cryptic and easily misinterpretable in-jokes in public view, the ability to hide behind an alias would alleviate all of it. One may try to counter this with the idea that you shouldn't have a problem with it if you have nothing to hide, but then the inability to hide anything would make the internet a terrible, terrible place.
Anyway, how does this whole dying thing affect people who use aliases and leave absolutely no physical ties to their meatspace avatars? What if I, during my periods of net caution, was to die? The persona you know as tubular would just cease to visit E2, never mind node the things I did, and there would only be the potential for wild guessing as to my actual fate. And telling people to simply assume that, past a certain stretch of time, I'm to be considered dead or MIA, is right out of the question: because of erratic visitation schedules and my tendency to just repeatedly go on nearly-indefinite hiatus for no good reason. The only leftover setup would seem to be to not care, and live each moment to its fullest extent, will all the people currently around. Read and write what you can and when you can, and just let it go when someone's stopped coming back.
As much as my real life personality wouldn't like that whole uncertainty in legacy thing, I think that I, as a netizen, would prefer to go out in this fashion. Just disappear silently one night, with the fruits of my E2 labour up until then proudly displayed on the various nodes of E2, eager to empower passersby with as much knowledge as they dare to ask for. The community would reshape wordlessly to expand the group of united proletariat noders and slowly replace my role and influence. And each of my writeups and anecdotes may tell you a little about me, in retrospect; but most of all, they will hopefully tell you about the subjects of the nodes they're found on, which is the point of noding in the first place, isn't it?
Basically what I'm saying is, ideally, if I die, none of you will ever even suspect a thing. Even assuming I somehow got E2-famous one day, or something. This isn't just wanton stoicism: this is me honestly wishing.
A man can dream. To sleep, perchance...?