Everyone makes the world go round by greasing its axle in their own particular way. I am one of those people who do it by not taking one step back when the call goes out for people to take a step forward. My relationship with power and responsibility is not necessarily a friendly one but more in the line of it sneaks up on you and tugs on your tails going "psst!" That is in a few words the how and why of my joining the ranks of volunteers here close to a lifetime ago.
Sed tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. As much as I enjoy being part of a community of ideas and the people who create them, managing this community is a whole different kettle of fish. Things will pile up in all that time but I think that over three years of being a surrogate for absent owners was the most draining part. Then there was watching sites come and go with ideas that a bit more direction and investment could have had us doing bigger and better years earlier. I figure the visions that I've had for the site will not be realised—the grander, the less likely—and that's-just-life-suck-it-up.
Truth is, my life is elsewhere now. I figured that out when I realised that I was working harder on accommodating a stranger's kid's lactose intolerance than I was on responding to legitimate concerns from the people I've worked with here for ten or twelve years. The time that I spent devising ways forward for E2 is, it seems, now occupied with questions such as how much glitter glue and construction paper to procure or whether a patch of grass is fit for practice. I've already figured out that the volunteer organisations that I'm dealing with now are every bit as dysfunctional as E2 is, just on a grander scale... but, once and twice again, I serve because I was asked to and this is who I am.
It is time to call it a day and retire as E2's site manager. The site has gone as far as it will go with me in charge. Y'all needed me in this position on this site because I did the worrying for you. I don't worry anymore. To me that is the surest sign that I am no longer the right person in the right place and am no longer even confident that this is a "right place" for me in a sense that would warrant investing more of myself today. And I do believe that I am on the record suggesting that people who don't node should reconsider their participation in administration.
I leave you with a staff group that's better than most professional outfits. These people are the finest bunch of jokers that I've ever had (or likely will have) the honour of sharing a responsibility and mission with. Particular mention goes to Oolong, The Debutante, and the wertperch/grundoon binary, who for most of the time rotated in duties as my right-hand people. My lousy attitude probably never quite let you guys know how absolutely invaluable you've been.
The noding public is still special, as few as may remain—so few and mostly narrowly focused on writing that I could not nominate enough people who would succeed us as a group of admins. It may be a generational thing but our little niche culture these days seems to attract people who are very much more interested in their peace and quiet than in serving in positions of responsibility. But even among those unwilling to accept a formal position there has always been an ever-changing constellation of people who behind the scenes supported, guided, or challenged me to do better since that date in September 2001 when I got The Message from bones. Words of wisdom for my successor and any manager: your job will be pretty damn tough without the likes of Jet-Poop, Chras4, Posmella, or Auduster. Treasure those people even if it embarrasses them.
It is perhaps preposterous, as someone (DEB?) said, for anyone to claim that E2 owes them something. That may be so but I will say that there are also people who owe nothing to the site. I feel like I did all that was within my means but that it was too little, too late for this site to maintain its position as an intellectual force in the digital world. And yet, like many others did, I committed and invested. I did my best. When I had to do better than my best I redefined my best. That is all that should be asked of anyone. But, best or not, the site does not need a soccer mom at the helm today. It needs someone with fewer distractions and a different vision, someone who's at a different point in their life and sees more deeply into the future than I can right now.
I have many opinions on the subject but have made no recommendation to the ownership as to who my successor should or should not be. If I don't like the choice I, like everyone else, will vote with my feet. Until a new manager is appointed Tem42, by virtue of currently being my designated deputy, will be acting manager.
Despite my noted verbosity and long personal history on E2, I'm not going to go on and turn this into a lengthy memoir, apologia, or manifesto. My public actions are documented in my editor logs. My most important work was with people behind the scenes and shall remain unrecorded. I made the trains run on time. That is my legacy, such as it is and to the extent to which that is a meaningful expression. I shall now buy a pair of plain shoes and you shall address me as "site admin emeritus." I'll be expecting my gold watch in the mail.