Destruction did not cease with my abandonment of my realm, no more than people would cease to dream should you abandon yours. Perhaps it's more uncontrolled, wilder. Perhaps not. But it's no longer anyone's responsibility.

Destruction, in Sandman #48: "Brief Lives: 8"



"It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life, and then I came along in two minutes and boom! it's all over."

"Let me alone," said Mildred. "I didn't do anything."

"Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"

Ray Bradbury: "Fahrenheit 451"

********************************************************************************

The letter in my mailbox felt unevenly thick. In a rush to pick up my daughter from science camp, I placed it in the car console and my wife and I darted into the afternoon traffic moving towards the main highway. As I drove my thoughts returned to the letter between the smalltalk of a married couple. Addressed from moeyz, I hoped it would contain stories of happiness and relief, or at least temporary respite, from the responsibilities of providing permanent care to a changing spouse. While waiting in the car for my wife to collect our daughter at camp I peeled the stickers holding the envelope closed. As I pulled the pages into sight, a piece of small yellow folded paper fell into my lap. This was the uneven thickness I felt earlier. Gingerly inspecting it, I recognized the flattened design as origami. In my palm I unfolded a crane, and the smile on my face revealed equal parts peace and delight.

I left e2 a few months ago. I left because I felt the "administration" continued to be unresponsive to requests for change from people like moeyz and myself. I left because many of my friends had left, and I felt like I had no one to write for anymore.

Since that time, I have continued exchanging handwritten letters with a few e2 users. Two of them, in a very delicate way, admonished me for removing my content. I argued that, by their very personal nature, my writings had no place here without my continued participation. I argued that a website should not derive income, no matter how miniscule, based on advertising attached to my thoughts and feelings in print. But they in turn pointed out that the real value in their writing here was its ability to help the faceless, the anonymous, and the future readers as they themselves journey through life.

I gave this a lot of thought.

Using the tools provided here years ago, I compiled the following table. While my math is certainly open for criticism, what cannot be denied is the dramatic slump in contributing users to everything2 in the past five years. I tired of trying in my own way to correct this.


210    *                           
200    *                           
190    *                           
180    *                           
170    *                           
160    *                           
150    *                           
140    *                           
130    *                           
120    *                           
110    *    *                       
100    *    *                       
 90    *    *    *                   
 80    *    *    *    *               
 70    *    *    *    *    *           
 60    *    *    *    *    *           
 50    *    *    *    *    *           
 40    *    *    *    *    *    *       
 30    *    *    *    *    *    *       
 20    *    *    *    *    *    *       
 10    *    *    *    *    *    *       
  0    *    *    *    *    *    *       
______________________________________________________                               
    5-09  5-10  5-11  5-12  5-13  5-14       
                               
    209    111    91    80    72    53      Contributing Users
                               
          47%    18%    12%   10%   26%    Percent Decline from
                                            Previous Year

What I do not have a table for, and cannot provide quantitative measurements of, are the changes in site visits from unregistered users. These are the people my friends referenced. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed that making a positive difference in the lives of anonymous readers through documenting my own experiences is worthwhile. Even if the difference is fleeting, or limited to a single reader. If for one moment I can give a visitor pause for reflection in a way that makes them more sex positive, more open to new things, more empathetic with the plight of others, or more aware of their own mortality, then that is worth doing.

I'm replacing at least some of my material. I'll be around. And I will keep my eye out for a solution to the table above. But I'm not worried too much about it. I'll worry about other things. There's a little yellow crane on my car dashboard to remind me about the actual people behind the usernames.

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