8 May, 2014
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who helped me out with the vet bills for Susano. I appreciate every gift, help in spreading my request, and kind word of support. It means a lot to me that people were willing to help.
I wrote personal emails to everyone who sent a gift. In many of these notes, I mentioned the importance of community. I often talk about how important community is on this blog, and it was a nice reminder about how community affects me personally in ways beyond the theory I share on here.
Let me share some thoughts about community.
Communities outside of games
We all belong to some community or another. Most of us live somewhere where there are other people within walking distance from our place of residence, and our neighbors form a community. We might also belong to other community organizations: churches, civic groups, clubs, covens, and other group types beginning with 'c'. We meet with people, share experiences, form bonds, and help each other out. Sometimes these communities are transitory; you might only be renting a place in a neighborhood and your neighbors are people who are constantly moving in and out. But, sometimes a community is so strong that you form bonds that last a lifetime no matter where you go in the world.
It's been fashionable to complain about how people are becoming disconnected from others in this modern age, but I think the reality is that we're connecting to people in different ways. We're no longer bound by geography. Instead, we can associate with people who share our interests, beyond the boundaries our grandparents had. Our communities can span the entire globe thanks to modern communications like the Internet.
The global community
Most people reading this probably self-identify as a "gamer". We gamers have decided to form communities beyond the limit of our physical location. This started because gamers were not commonly accepted by others, so the opportunity to find and talk with other gaming geeks like us was amazing. But, even today with gaming being much more mainstream, we form communities based on interests.
I think the predominant community reading my blog are those who enjoy MMO games, particularly looking at them from a design angle. I write something about how to improve community or how community hurts some games and people respond with their own thoughts. The really great thing is that people come from all over the world so we get a wide variety of perspectives.
We are a global community. There are people who are only a few hours away from where I live, people across the continent, and people on the other side of the world. But, we gather together on my blog and other blogs to discuss what we are passionate about. We share a bond that is more than just about the physical space we happen to live in. I've made a lot of connections with other people I never would have had the possibility to meet because of the gaming community.
A healthy MMO community
A while ago I wrote about the health of the MMO blogging community. Chris Bateman, who inspired that post was amazed at how many responses I got when talking about the MMO blogging community. I think that despite it any problems MMOs might have, there's still a vibrant community of people who care. New people come, and old people go, but the community as a whole endures.
I'd like to point out that it's easy to become a pillar of this community. Obviously you can leave comments on blog, but there's also a great system of support for new bloggers, podcasters, video creators, etc. for people who want to create content. Give the Newbie Blogger Initiative a look, perhaps it might inspire you to join the rest of us as an active participant and anchor in a wonderful community.
A sad update
Unfortunately, I have some sad news. Despite our best efforts, Susano did not improve. His decline came suddenly. On Sunday I supervised him as he wandered around outside; he always enjoyed going (read: sneaking) outside, and I hoped letting him sit in the sun outside would improve his spirits. On Monday he was very lethargic, and on Wednesday he could barely move. He passed quietly and peacefully that night, surrounded love and warmth.
The generosity of the community didn't save my friend, but they did give me something very important: peace of mind. I know that I did the best I could to help him, and I don't have worry that I could have done something better to help him. I wish he could have made a full recovery, but I can better accept his death because I did everything I could for him.
So, I want to thank everyone for your generosity and kindness. I really do appreciate the true meaning of community.