Thursday, September 11, 2014

43 things I need to do now 43 things is closing down

It is a sad moment when one of your bookmark links announces that it is closing down. I clicked through absently to 43 things - a website where I keep a heady mix of hopelessly optimistic, vaguely aspirational and eminently achievable goals - and discovered it was closing. Sad days.

I'd always quite liked it. Neither a bucket list nor a workplan, just a list of wishes that strangers turned up and cheered, randomly. You could record didactic how-to instruction lists, steps on the way, meditations on the unachievability of your goals. Anything you wanted.

Everything you finished went onto one list, everything you decided wasn't worth the bother and gave up on went into another. It could be structured or free form, loose or tight. You could be cryptic as you liked. There was a separate bit for New Year's resolutions. And so it was that I turned goal-setting into a game, and quite a fun one. at that.

So, why did they take it away?
While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.
That's a little vague, but fortunately I was able to spot more-or-less what had happened just by glancing at my profile, which had a short deleted comment appended to all of my "How to Guides" and - oh yes, look - here's what's being deleted, on one of my entries. A comment in ALL CAPS promoting a visibly broken "earning link" to a major internet retail site.  Spam comments. It's been brought down by spam comments.

These probably aren't being added by hand. It has the look of an automated injection attack of some sort. Just the sort of horrible, intractable thing that script kiddies think is hilarious to fire at a a bunch of well-meaning do-gooders until they crumple.

Well, that's one interpretation. Another is that they looked at their quite sweet old project that was clearly well-liked (if a little creaky round the edges) and considered the amount of effort that it would take to fit up this site, built for the positive, prosocial internet of the early adopters, into enough of an iron-bound, copper-bottomed, radar-lidar-laser-shark protected behemoth that it could survive the slings and arrows of the bottom half of the internet...

...and closed it down, with a pang of regret, but not too much, because when you have 43 things on your list, there's always another place to put your time, energy and enthusiasm.

In the meantime, happy days. 43 things saw me get a glamorous cocktail cabinet and bake dinosaur shaped biscuits and start topiarising the front hedge.

It saw me get a rescue kitten, stop pulling my hair, and make a music video. All in all, I did 149 things, gave up on 26 (including, slightly tragically, "Turn the Bathroom into an Alien Tiki bath-hut") and had 41 still on the list when the site switched to frozen, including the very first goal I ever set for myself which was learn to set things in resin.

Too bad, I had another one to tick off the list. Grow Nosferatu Chilies well enough to give some away to friends.  Done that. Achievement unlocked.

But now how will I tick that box?

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