For anyone well versed in the realm of Internet discussion forums, the "I'm leaving" thread is a legendary phenomenon. At some point or other in an Online Community someone will decide they have enough, they may have been excessively flamed, they may have had a bad day in the real world, but the result is the thread where they announce to their peers that "that's it", "I've had enough", "I'm leaving".
Those that known such threads will also know that people who say their leaving rarely do. They lurk for a while and then all of sudden re-appear. The "I'm leaving" thread is then thrown back in their face with the usual flamers and bile that comes with the Internet.
Another rule of the Internet is never, under any circumstance, announce you're going (especially in advance if you are a Prime Minister). Such actions will inevitably come back to bite you, because, if you've spent a long time posting online, either on boards or blogs, you'll never leave, the pull is to great.
Why am I posting about this? Well, it is with much regret that Bob Piper has just posted an "I'm Leaving" thread on his blog here. I do hope he's joking. True, the online virtual world has breached it's wall and spilt out into the real world for him, but as much as he may say the two events are not connected, he should not allow it to cloud his judgement.
Bob, for all his left wing ideological faults, has provided a service to his readership but also to those of us on the other side of the fence to snipe at. It's part of the game and it's part of the fun of it all, and the UK political blogosphere will not be as rich a place for debate without him in my opinion. He also recently did a lot of work changing his blog's look and appeal, to leave now would be a waste.
This is not to say he didn't make a misjudgement over the past few days. I think he did. However, that is no reason to announce a departure in my mind. His post is actually titled "Time to Reflect", he's right about that. He needs to reflect on his decision to post that he is leaving. The cynical Internet geek in me knows that he will be back, but that doesn't change my disappointment that he posted saying he was going.