I want to respond to BlitzGirls question about our most satisfying achievement on/in the thread, but I've also got to comment on the ending and everything else that's happened.
Let me say, at the start, I don't think the OTT is going to end. I'm happy about that, because there is something wonderful about this community over and above the creative, analytical and sometimes just plain craziness that we've accomplished here. There are a few other long lived threads on the internet that started in much the same way this one did. No, not as an xkcd comic thread, but as a discussion on a topic, which just kept going. We even found and discussed some of them (the OTT is what the first part of understanding everything looks like). If they can do it, so can we.
I've got a few achievements that aren't my most satisfying, but still rate high. The first is identifying the comic as a story. I'm not sure if I was the first (probably not), but after I posted my first literary analysis, the discussion seemed to focus more around the story concept. Not everyone agreed, but that's the way we work here.
On that note, although Randall has called it a story in his blag post, an example of what confirms it as a story for me is the final frames. Cuegan start to build a sandcastle on the raft. If it were a glorified what if, there's no need for them to do that.
That same post is where I predicted that Time would end between 3500 and 4200 frames. I was using literary analysis (and some arithmetic) to make that prediction. My prediction was pretty accurate. I agree that the ending was a bit rushed, but that's a characteristic of modern stories. Once you have resolved all the plot questions, you don't linger, you lose your audience otherwise. The rush at the ending may have also been Randall getting tired, as he admits in the blag post.
At the end, I felt the same way when I've read a great novel. Sometimes I even want to plunge back in and start all over again. We may see a sequel, or Randall may do something different, artist that he is, but either way, I have a deep satisfaction from following Time as long as I have.
When it comes to talking about the thread, I never cease to be amazed at how we manage to avoid flames. It takes work sometimes, tempers do flare a little, but we always find ways to work it out. As one of my achievements, I like to think that I've contributed some calm words during some of those episodes, being appreciative of both posters (which is always easy because we've all contributed so much), yet helping to find a bridge between opposing points of view.
But neither of those are the achievement I think is the biggest. The biggest one is simply being here.
As far as I know, nothing like this has ever been done before. I was here before they started building the sandcastle. I had to go look at the fora to find out what was going on. That's a fairly common practice for me, I don't understand xkcd so I go to the fora to see what other people are saying. And there I was, immediately caught up in the whole experience. I delurked around the fading to say that I was satisfied with what had happened to that point, it was already a great experience, and now, some 2400 frames later, I feel even more that way.
But I was witness (as were all of us) to something completely new. There was no way to anticipate where Randall was going with this, there was only the waiting. I saw Al Jarreau before he was well known, but I didn't see him in his really early days. I live near Los Angeles, so I could conceivably see and participate in a lot of new art happenings, but I don't. I didn't even get Umwelt or Click and Drag, the first time through. But I was here when Randall Munroe took the art of webcomics to a whole new place.
As were you. That is something we all share. Future viewers can get a sense of the comic from the viewers or by blitzing the thread and we will welcome them to the thread, because that is who we are, but their experience will be different. We:
Were there at the beginning of Time,
Waited half an hour for one darkening pixel,
Molpy-ed up and down
Put out Flame Wars with BlitzGirl's shield,
Need 11 thousand years of sleep, just to catch up.
"You could spend a thousand lifetimes
staring at water and sand,
Thinking as hard as you could
And you'd never guess the world
had things like this in it."
Always act to increase the survival chances of the largest group you are a part of.