I think that after my almost four years here that it is time for me to walk away. When I first joined this site it was a lot different than what it is now. One I first got here, for the first time in my life I had found a forum and a blog setup that actually encouraged interaction and discussion. It was something special for me as I tried to prove to myself that I had it in myself to become a writer. The writing came, and really for the first time I got the idea that I might be able to do this for real, despite what my purely scientific academic background gave me. It started out with blogs that were well received, but at the suggestions of others I got into writing reviews and then into fan-fic. It was there that I was most intimidated, it is easy to describe something or even critique it, but harder again by several degrees of scale to create something. I tread carefully into those waters, but found them not so dangerous, thanks in part once again to the great people that I have met along the way here, who for the most part have been encouraging. I eventually took the bigger step of deciding that my academic background can be damned and that if I wanted to pursue life as a writer then I could do it, built in part on the foundations that I lay here.
In the meantime on this site I have seen some changes, and unfortunately I can't say that they have all been for the better, or that even most haven't taken away from what made this place so special to begin with. The Battles Forum mentality, which I have no problem with in its proper place, seemed to spread to the rest of the site and to become the new paradigm. Instead of a friendly place we got a site where everyone had to be right, and if they weren't or if they didn't come up with some zing that was borderline for getting them into trouble, that it didn't really matter what they had said at all. The site that I knew when I first joined when mods like Xerox Kitty or Mistress Redhead (or JLone or Aztek The Lost or most of them) reached out to new users is now gone. As my friends have slowly migrated away, I noticed that not only was there no longer the ability to be friendly with them, but also that there were not really other people coming in to fill the hole left by their departure. There have been some exceptions, and I cherish the online contact that I have had with a lot of them, but it is to the point now that regular users won't even listen to moderators, even when they offer to help. We have become the enemy and it is endemic to the attitude here.
I still walk away from here with my head held high. I am not the kind of person to think the worst of things, always trying to leave on a high, and when I leave it is remembering the good things about this place and especially the people. I miss my interactions with ATK, XK, MR and even with @jloneblackheart even though he is still around. I also miss hummingbird and cosmo, two stellar friends that always made my day better. @delphic is in there too, and so too are the ones that are left. @sc for always being there, @wildvine for being herself and @renchamp for being my wiki buddy. Also pretty much everyone that gives feedback in the fan fic section, including @joygirl. That group is really special here and deserves more attention than what they get being relegated to an ignored forum.
So this is not really goodbye, more like farewell. I have asked the staff to decommission me as a moderator (pending some of my last minute housecleaning) and I am unlikely to talk with any of those of you who are not listed above (as I will still periodically check my PMs). I am likely to be back some day, but for now it is the end.