Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know that I have been active on the discussion boards at the Ship of Fools website for many years. This week has been a sad week as Erin, the Community Editor died unexpectedly on 30 December 2010. Once again the value of an online community has been brought back to me in a vivid and real way.
The Ship has been a huge part of my life since about 2005. It has provided me with a breadth of information about subjects that I have never really had to think about. More than that though, it has given me such a diversity of viewpoints from people of all different Christian denominations, traditions and experiences. I have contact with people from all over the world, many of whom I will never ever meet. However, I have also been on many Shipmeets and met online folk who I would now class my ‘real life’ friends. Indeed six Shimates came to our wedding last April.
There are many people who say that true friendships and community can never truly be developed over a computer, and yet I would beg to differ. The outpouring of grief and shock is tangible and very, very real. Equally the support and love of the forum members is so real that you can almost feel the emotion as you read the messages of remembrance, support and love. The Ship is an amazing place with an awesome community. People often have disagreements and arguments, but these generally get resolved and/or tolerated.
Erin played a huge part in ensuring the smooth sailing of this Ship. She would cut to the chase in a few sentences and put people in their place if they were being arseholes. Comments written by Erin were always worth reading she regularly left me chuckling at something she had said.
The Ship is undoubtedly a much poorer place without her, but I am sure it will endure, and that is the most fitting tribute to her that I can think of.