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Peaceful Islands In An Ocean Of Chaos

There's something to be said about "the good old days."

It seems as though that when you get old enough, you start appreciating how things used to be. Often you find yourself believing that the old ways are better. Change in itself is not a bad thing, but changes for the worse... well, they are what they are.

When I first joined OCN in January 2007, things definitely had a very different feel. Many people were very helpful, and knowledge and experience were freely dispensed. Even given the inevitable friction I encountered (to be fair, some of my issues were purely due to my own shortcomings as a person and as a member of the community) OCN was a very happy place, insofar as I'm concerned. And the more I found my own "OCN personality," the more comfortable things became for me.

I have even made quite a few good friends as a consequence of being an OCNer.

At some point in time between then and today, however, well, the community has been blighted both by an influx of new members who seem to think that bad behavior is endearing; that to brag about their hardware or any other dubious accomplishments is the way to earn respect and esteem in a community; that to act with belligerence and aggression is the ticket to having a good reputation in the community; that to be so blatantly self-serving and never give back to the community is the best way to be a part of OCN; that they have a right to free speech, even if any and all rights are always accompanied by a responsibility to the community wherein such rights must never ever impinge on the rights of others or harm any part of the community.

This small discourse, however, is not meant to be a restatement of my appeal to all of OCN to look in the mirror and try to be a part of the solution. That message was, arguably, focused on the negative aspects of OCN's community, a personal assessment of OCN's shortcomings.

Rather, I'd rather add on to this message and highlight some of the more outstanding examples of OCNers that I've come across. My gratitude goes out to all of these great people:

The Duke, for our occasional private conversations on a variety of issues. You have my respect.

mega_option101, with whom, ironically, I used to feel a small feeling of rivalry back when the notion of an OCN "Blogger of the Month" was being bandied about (this is a bit of a confession of sorts). I miss your blogging, but I shall always be impressed by your friendliness and your outstanding wisdom and knowledge in many aspects of life.

ericeod, simply for being a great person. You are one of OCN's very best. I am lucky to consider you a friend.

ditto logan. All I've said about ericeod applies to you.

My fellow S939ers pioneerisloud, Guardian Odin, and Blitz6804. pio, your toughness and persistence are worthy of much respect, as is your forgiveness for my tendency to send things later than expected; G.O., you are an artist by profession and as a person, for you make things beautiful. I will never forget how you wrote to me privately when I had a personal crisis many many months ago; Blitz, a truly intelligent man who is occasionally maddening for your penchant to complicate all matters needlessly. Whatever else, you are a true friend.

I'm sure I've left other people out, but the great thing about maintaining a blog is that there will always be a chance to go back and add as needed.

Thanks, people. You truly are havens of peace, reminders of why OCN is a great online community.

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