Two years, seventeen days, three hours and five minutes

It has been two years, seventeen days, three hours and five minutes since I became involved with EasyList by creating an account on the EasyList forums. When I joined, I did not expect that I would ever rise to my present position of lead EasyList and Privacy author, forum administrator and all the other roles that I have accumulated in my EasyBlog profile.

It was chance that lead to my first major breakthrough: only three months after I had joined the forum, I was granted contributor status and thereby discovered, via a topic in the private forum, that Ares2 was officially struggling to maintain the subscriptions (my 500 posts over my first three months on the forum had nothing to do with this). Wladimir was, at the time, reorganising the Adblock Plus repositories anyway and offered a Mercurial repository to Ares2, which was eventually accepted. The question then arose who would assist Ares2, which I replied to with the following post:

"I would be willing to help, although I appreciate that I am somewhat of a novice in comparison to the other members of the private forum."


Despite my acknowledgment of my limited involvement with EasyList, my application was accepted, along with Erunno's, and by early December I was actively committing changes.

Becoming the lead author was also a matter of being in the right place at the right time. By the end of April I was effectively the only active EasyList author, to the extent that I complained, via private message to Erunno and Ares2, that:

"I signed up for a group project, not a one man band."


Although I received assistance from Erunno, Ares2 found himself unable to continue to run EasyList and in June he therefore offered me the position of lead author, which I readily accepted. It was also acknowledged that we need more help, and three people were offered authorship at the time: MonztA, Khrin and Famlam, of whom MonztA and Khrin immediately accepted and soon took on their new positions.

After the peculiar circumstances that lead me to my position, I decided to develop EasyList further, redesigning the website, which had not been significantly altered since Rick was the EasyList author, and adding this blog. I added groups to the forum to more clearly identify significant people, such as contributors, subscription authors and EasyList authors, and added the private "EasyList Authors' Forum" to reduce the excessive use of private messages by authors. I have also been one of two authors of SubscriptionList and helped to develop the Adblock Plus documentation and check the English localisation of Adblock Plus - I am responsible for the description of Adblock Plus on the Mozilla Add-ons domain. More recently, Famlam has taken up my offer to become an author and I have developed FOP (Filter Orderer and Preener), which automatically sorts and commits changes to Adblock Plus subscriptions.

That is not to say that I have no regrets about my time with the project - I have certainly made some significant mistakes, including committing a rule that would have broken a very large number of websites had the filter not been spotted quickly and being overly antagonistic to an important company - but that I am generally proud of my involvement with EasyList.

Perhaps the most significant change to the EasyList project while I have been the lead author is to make the subscriptions available as Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) for Microsoft's Internet Explorer using a script I developed, but which was later significantly improved by Wladimir; EasyPrivacy TPL now accounts for just over half of all EasyPrivacy downloads.

Those are my memories of EasyList - my reminisces. But I now need to move to the present and to reality. Over my two years with the project I have been successful in real life, but have realised that the resulting changes will reduce my level of my involvement for the foreseeable future to such a low standard as to do a disservice to the community. EasyList needs stability - there has been approximately one lead author a year since Rick's unfortunate death in 2009 - and I am unable to provide it. As I hinted in a hidden message in a recent blog post, I am therefore stepping down from all of my roles associated with EasyList and Adblock Plus.

MonztA has kindly agreed to take over the role of lead EasyList and EasyPrivacy author (he is already the lead EasyList Germany author), effective immediately. He has been writing subscriptions for at least twice as long as I've even been involved with EasyList and I know that he already has plans to continue to develop the project. I wish him and the community the best of luck and thank the numerous people (too many to list here) who have supported me as an author. But now I must leave. After two years, seventeen days, three hours and five minutes.