My beloved Harry Potter forum is closing. (cosforums.com) It was my first ever internet home. It was the place that introduced me to the curious phenomenon of leading a life in an online space with all its rules and intricacies. It's where I learnt to argue, debate and sit in time-out for being "too forceful" or showing too obviously my pro-Snape bias. It introduced me to fandom and all its glorious and terrible sides and places, including the epic, multi-platform wars of Snapefen and Snaters. It's where I first made internet friends and the only experience I've had with online love (it didn't end well). It's the place where I made my first steps in discussing politics and feminism. It's where I picked up so many of my social beliefs. I've had wonderful and terrible times there, I've laughed for hours playing forum-wide games and cried at being banned from sub-forums for insinuating some people suck at debating. There I first knew what appreciation online felt like when I was asked to join Hogsmeade, the sub-forum for established and thoughtful posters.
And now it will be gone forever. But they're throwing one last Hogsmeade Awards event and even though I didn't participate, I clicked on the thread a few days ago to see how it was going, and I was nominated in three categories - one of which was Overall Contribution! I can't explain how that made me feel. It's a huge forum, upwards of 80 000 members, and there are so many iconic members among them from the real heyday of Harry Potter frenzy (between GoF and DH release), and there are only 5 nominees in each category! It warmed my heart to think enough people thought of me as having given something of worth to the forum, because it gave me so much, I can't do it justice in words. And even sadder that I'd have to say goodbye forever.