When you’re my age and you’ve been online nearly half your life, you lose friends. It’s unpleasant, but is it not unavoidable? It bothers me that anyone, especially my old friends, would believe I wish them ill. In fact, I almost always think highly of them. “I wish them well” isn’t a platitude but a statement of fact.
It is magical thinking to believe that warm feelings somehow help clarify the facts, so I have decided to write down a list of former friends (restricted to those with a significant online presence) alongside statements of good wishes. I am quite aware nobody else does this. I guess nobody else is as concerned as I am at staying on good terms even after friendships end, something I believe is in fact not an oxymoron.
Adam Greenfield. The beloved former Web developer–turned–civic-networking theorist has enjoyed a unique career – and widespread admiration. I look back fondly on the period where we were friends and I admire him, too. (He writes in now and then complaining about unwanted attention.)
Jason Scott. This pioneer in the desperately needed field of online preservation has an unnatural hatred of me that I do not share. Jason deserves an entire foundation of his own, with oceans of bandwidth and disc space and funding well into the next century.
David Séguin. Hands down the smartest man I’ve met in the last ten years, and I’ve known a lot of straight-up geniuses. He hurt me tremendously on that failed project, but I guess these things happen. I expect a lot from him. (I do have concerns about a recurrence.)
Brett D. Stewart. My old friend had the guts and integrity to do something about his disgust at the irreversible decline of Toronto: He left! Despite his sometimes-angry promotion of atheism and Windows, he’s been right on seemingly every other count. An estimable specimen of a genus that will soon be gone forever, the older gay man who knew the closet.
I never initiate contact with any of the foregoing, of course. I just wanted to issue a unilateral statement of goodwill. I defy you to find fault.
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