Of course... I wasn't in the wilderness at all: I've got a job and a life, which kept me plenty busy in the years between then and then. To be honest, I wasn't ready to come back any sooner; I had some important stuff to do.
Far be it to parp my own honkington, but we've just had our biggest ever week on Digi2000 by a significant margin; over 25,000 unique users in the last week alone.
Admittedly, 15,000 of those were over this past weekend, thanks to one of you sharing the Cliff Richard piece on Reddit.... but as first anniversary gifts go, it beats a bag of dog dirt.
However, the hours after I hit 'send' on those first couple of tweets, I was terrified. I'd had eight years of relative anonymity, and I'd not gone away in the happiest of circumstances.
Let's face it, we never know what people are really going through from their behaviour online alone. If you're cornered and feel powerless and broken, and you're dealing with some major shit in your life, you're far more likely to behave like a dick. Everybody deserves a chance to prove there's more to them than that.
While I was pretty sure I wouldn't mess up when I returned, and had forgiven and forgotten, I couldn't speak for everyone else. I needn't have worried, though.
I know I've said it before, but I'm genuinely humbled by the kindness and generosity of everyone over the past year.
From those who have supported the site financially through one-off donations or monthly sponsorship, to everyone who has taken the time to share the content, or send me a message saying lovely things, or who came up to me at PlayExpo, or who just reads the site regularly - it has been incredibly rewarding, life-affirming, and healing.
Some days I don't think I deserve it. Other days I'm just overwhelmed by it. So... thank you, whoever you are. I hope that the site continues to repay your faith in it. In me. Thanks for giving me that second chance.
Anyhow... I dunno if I've mentioned this before, but among the many things that inspired my comeback were these two things: Zoe Quinn and Gamergate...
You probably know who Zoe Quinn is. She's the bright spark that started Gamergate - a relatively unknown indie developer, who had her private life splashed across the Internet, which led to a campaign of harassment beneath the umbrella of a crusade for better ethics in games journalism.
When Quinn's story first broke in August of last year, I empathised with her. I'd had my share of online grief, and even thought about reaching out to her. I knew the damage it could do, and just how nasty it could get. I knew first hand how powerless you can feel, and that the police can only do so much.
As it transpired, what Quinn went through appeared to be far in excess of my own stuff. Instead, I watched her coping, fighting back, and figured that if she could weather it, I probably could too.
And now Zoe Quinn has signed a deal to publish her memoir, which is also being turned into a movie. Reports suggest that Scarlett Johanssen is eyeing the role of Quinn.
If you view Gamergate as a war, Zoe Quinn just employed the nuclear option. Unfortunately, I fear that far from Gamergaters surrendering unconditionally, and spend the next century making reparations and Godzilla movies, they're going to be driven to respond in kind.
I'm not a Gamergater, I'm not a Social Justice Warrior, I just wish naively that people would get along.
Unfortunately, too many people in our society seem to adopt a "You're with me or you're my enemy" approach to a world that is never that black and white.
From calling out people on Facebook who don't wear Remembrance Day poppies, to being guilt-tripped by millionaires into supporting their latest charitable cause, rational debate - a genuine roadmap to a better world - often gets lost amid the fog of blind loyalty to a rigid frame of reference.
When it comes to Gamergate, 12 months ago I erred towards the side of those being harassed. And yet, over the past year I've concluded that Gamergate is an utter waste of time. Those involved, whatever their allegiance, appear to be perpetuating the fight, unable to back down, and unable or unwilling to stop winding up the other side. It makes me despair.
Any sort of reasoned argument, any valid points, end up getting drowned out beneath a cacophony of hysteria. It brings embarrassment to video games, frankly, and there are those on both sides who should be utterly ashamed of themselves. It needs to go away, and we just need to get on with the reason we're all here: to play games and have a good time.
And now there's a Quinn book, and potentially a movie to follow, so you can guarantee that Gamergate isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, I fear that it's going to get worse.
Hollywood biopics inevitably adopt a degree of dramatic license. How is that going to be taken by those who already accuse Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and others of being liars? I'll tell you how it's going to be taken: badly. Very badly indeed.
To stop my own harassment I had to disappear.
I was fortunate that I had something to fall back on in terms of work (though I ended up pursuing jobs that - mostly - allowed me to disappear beneath the radar; among the things I backed out of or sabotaged were a travel book, an adult sitcom and a couple of documentaries).
When I was still around, I never made the situation better by lashing out, fighting back, or drawing more attention to myself. Any time I was dumb or panicked or hurting enough to do that, things escalated.
That is all that's going to happen with Gamergate, and I fear the worst about the upcoming Quinn projects. I'm not saying that people should have to disappear and potentially scupper their careers, but they can choose not to fight. Taking that route isn't cowardice, it isn't handing victory to the other side. Talking, adopting a policy of non-aggressive engagement, is the only route to conflict resolution that makes any sense.
If we all laid down our arms, there would be no more conflict anywhere in the world.
NOT ABOUT WHAT?
Video games are not about Gamergate, but if this movie goes ahead then all people who play video games are going to end up becoming tarred with the same brush, potentially forced into one camp or another. It's going to be another flashpoint, and we're going to look increasingly like a community of in-fighting nerds.
Those who feel they have a diminished voice will try all the harder to make their voices heard - and you can bet they're not going to go about it in a rational, diplomatic way.
Similarly, I can imagine that some of those who they oppose will take a Hollywood movie as some sort of vindication or victory, and use it as an opportunity to gloat. Which is great, because if there's something that all people love it's being looked down upon by those who appear to be in a position of privilege.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter who is right, and who is wrong. In any conflict, where people are being hurt, and lives being ruined, the only way to stop it is for one side or the other to step outside the cycle, and strive for a better way forward... either for the cause, or for yourself as an individual.
Unless, of course, they don't want it to stop, because it's finally given their life some degree of meaning, or greater purpose. But here's a tip: doxxing Anita Sarkeesian, or using a YouTube video to belittle someone who's angry, isn't going to get you a lifelong membership to Paradise. There are no virgins waiting on the other side. And nor is it going to give you a better life now; it's just going to waste the chances you have been given.
Take it from someone who knows.