Twelve years ago I stumbled across a proposal on Area 51 for a site called "Academia". As a soon-to-be-graduated grad student at the time, I was super intrigued. My own experience as a grad student had been... shall we say, "challenging", and I was excited at the prospect of a site where students could ask the sorts of questions I never got answers to myself. I was an active participant from the very beginning.
Once the site entered Beta I asked a whole bunch of questions. By that point in my grad student career I already had answers to most of them, but felt it important to ensure that they were here, searchable, so that others could find them. I spent a lot of time answering a wide range of questions, hoping to help other students avoid the confusion I had experienced. All this
procrastination from doing actual research community effort helped me become a Moderator Pro Tempore, which motivated me to double down on my site contributions, not just as a participant but as an active moderator as well.
I kept my moderator badge after I left grad school and completed my postdoc. I kept my badge when I entered industry, and switched roles, and switched roles again, and switched roles again. I took on a consulting gig. I was co-led a startup for a brief bit. Throughout all this, the community was kind enough to actually vote me into a diamond moderator role and work with me as I and my fellow moderators—diamond mods and high-rep mods, all volunteering their time—tended to the site. It's honestly not a stretch to say that, family aside, this site has been one of the most enduring constants throughout the past twelve years of my life.
My most recent work transition has given me less time to attend to the site than before, and in the interest of not being an absentee moderator I'm relinquishing my diamond. However, I am definitely not leaving.
Academia.SE has become quite a resource. Tens of thousands of questions, nearly a hundred thousand answers, and a whole heck of a lot of daily visitors... it's been quite a journey from that original proposal on Area 51. It still brings me simple joy to see students interacting with professors, postdocs, industry experts, and more than a few retirees on the site, asking questions, getting a range of opinions, familiarizing themselves with the social mores of a strange—and sometimes scary!—new world. I'm really proud of what we've built together over the years and look forward to helping continue to develop it in the years to come.