This is going to be brief but in the last few minutes was reminded of a tale from the Paradox forums, where I am a moderator.
There was a popular user and fellow moderator who, when I was new to the staff, soon went silent. There were some parting remarks and the old guard exchanging niceties. And then they drifted away as the new guard came in to take over running the boards.
As always, there were promises to return and to share a pint when life’s troubles weren’t so bad.
A year or two ago I saw that he had some visitor messages posted, some dating back a few years more. People just asking how he was doing and when he’d be back to organize all those things he said he’d organize when he had time.
I had only checked his profile because a user had mentioned that they tried to PM him and it said his inbox was full, a no-no for staff. I asked the one or two old guard staff members left if they knew what was up.
“Yeah, he died back in 2007.”
“Oh,” I thought.
I wonder how many of those PMs in his inbox were internet friends dropping a line to see how he was, to see if he was coming back.
But you couldn’t tell from his profile. Some accomplishments, a few links to the forum rules. His location is “Out of exile.” There are a few visitor messages. The first, dated 2009 says, “Here’s hoping you’re in good healthl and life is treating you well XXX. :)” [sic]
If we ever get a new forum, would they transfer over his profile? Would it be automatic? Or would someone consciously make the decision whether or not to move him over?
And slowly, the internet collects ghosts. Not metaphysical ghosts. Real ghosts. The little pieces of ourselves we uploaded and then, inevitably, leave behind.