Since I have been a member of this forum, I have learned a lot of things.
I have learned that there are a lot of warm, wonderful, smart, and creative people around the world; not only here at home but in places I only dream about visiting, like Austrailia, Sweden, The Netherlands, England, New Zealand, Canada, et al. People of all races, ages and genders, Friends from all walks of life.
I have agreed with the opinions of some and disagreed with others. I have seen heated arguments and debates, sometimes causing those debating to leave in a huff or slowly faded away as if wounded. Agree or disagree, I have felt the loss when one single "voice" that I have come to know and appreciate, is silenced by it's absence.
I have come to hear the wonderful differences in the voices, by way of slang, or the tone of the message, or rhythm of the words in the posts. Each voice unique to itself yet representative of the country of origin.
I have learned to be a bit more broad-minded, a bit more forgiving and a lot less critical. I have come to appreciate how easily I can misunderstand someones intention or be misunderstood in turn. I have come to learn the power of the smilie.
I have "felt the pain" when someone was down, celebrated and shared in someones victory or success, and worried with someone in their troubles. I have felt a part of a community, something grander than myself. To me, this has been a place where technology has a soul.
I think this feeling is what many of the people who visited URU "LIVE" must have felt. Now, in the aftermath of URU "LIVE"'s closing, I marvel at the number of locked threads there that attempt to temper the raw shared pain. Here, in this older, more settled forum, I notice that there is not a great need to lock threads. Members of this forum, for the most part, mind their manners. Here we have been shielded from the brunt of that pain, finding comfort in the familiarity of our friends in this forum.
But lately, I have noticed cold winds blowing through this forum; winds of accusation, recrimination, anger, mistrust, a lack of respect and a lack of understanding that threatens the spirit of this place.
I had hoped to help ameliorate the situation as best I could by volunteering as a Moderator.
I see now that that is a daunting task. A real challenge. For it is my opinion that in this forum, the trick is to moderate with an even hand. Push too hard and you crush the spirit of it. Not hard enough and it spins out of control.
Sometimes I wonder if I can make or have made a difference at all here.
Regardless, I want to thank you. Those who will read this post and those who have gone. Thank you all for the things you have taught me.
And so I have to keep reminding myself what a great experience it is, hangin out in this forum, learning as I go, with these people.