anyway, what I wanted to say is, for some time I have been wrestling with the concept of trust in this medium. Awhile ago people were all doing a "trust meme" where they classified all their "LJ friends" as dragons or gargoyles or some other level depending on how much they trusted or liked or hung out with each other. There is no way I could ever impose such a rankings system on my friends, actual or I-net. There is also no meeting of the minds that I can see on here about how people use their LJ f(r)iends list. Some just want their RL friends, some want nobody they know in RL (presumably so they can discuss RL stuff in a safe space), some are looking for "a connection" with new close friends or dates, some just seem to randomly add people and then ignore them or forget where they came from till they don't know their LJ f(r)iends from three-toed tree sloths, and some simply add entertaining journals without giving too much thought to the person writing them.
My favorites are those who seem to consider everybody on their LJ f(r)iends list a buddy to the point where they get upset about being dropped, despite the fact that they rarely comment and in some cases can't be bothered to ever say hello in person even when the person lives in the next town over. Yeah, I had RL f(r)iends like that too. "Uh, like, I haven't bothered to speak to you in five years but I still consider you my good friend! Really!!" Please. I do have a very few friends who I know would still be my friends and think about me sometimes and wonder about what I'm doing and care about me even if I had not spoken to them for 20 years, but they are rare gems, few and far between, and what we shared to get to that point was a hella lot more significant than bantering on the Internet. I won't even comment on the ones who "consider someone a friend" despite the fact that it is obvious to all and sundry that they can't stand Someone, because they don't want to be honest and dislike or at least ignore Someone out loud for Some reason.
(I know, I know, rambly brambly GET TO THE FRICKIN' POINT AWREADY!)
which is, I finally figured out how I feel about all of youse on my list today who are not my RL friends (who presumably know how I feel about them :). I am not so presumptuous as to consider you "friends", because my sense of that term entails a lot more than most of you care to put out on my behalf, and that's just fine; we all need some low maintenance interactions, some stuff that's just for entertainment, some people who we can talk to about amusing mundanities without having to go the whole nine yards of Getting to Know You. But, I do require something from everybody on my list, and that something is a basic level of trust. Which for me basically translates into You won't act like an ass on here or spend too much time bringing up people who do.
Occasionally someone pings my trust-o-meter. And that's usually all it is, is a momentary ping. Once in a while someone starts pinging it regular and then whanging away on it like a whammy bar and then I drop them, because I don't keep people around who I can't trust, even in the stupid world of the public Internet. I just don't do it, not because I have to post Deep Dark Secrets on here, but because people who strike me as Untrustworthy make me Uncomfortable. There are also many reasons why I have dropped people besides lack of trust (such as their own lack of interest or us just not having much in common) and I'm sure many reasons why people have dropped me in return.
It seems like a stupidly simple conclfusion, but it took me a long time to reach it. The idea of trusting in near-total strangers for ANYTHING, no matter how minor, is wildly against my logical nature. Yet it is such trust that forms the basis of communication on the 'Net. OK, I gotta go now before I morph into eughhy Larry Lessig.