Five years ago, on February 11, my friend Chris Lightfoot killed himself and we lost one of the most significant thinkers about how we realise the vision of an open society in a networked world that we have ever had – and one of the most accomplished doers, too, because Chris was a modern public intellectual, committed to ‘rough consensus and running code’ as well as erudite arguments with anyone who stood in his path.
Tom Steinberg has written a marvellously insightful analysis of why Chris mattered, and it goes into some detail about his achievements, especially within the context of MySociety. You can read it here:
After Chris died I wrote his obituary for The Times. It has now gone behind the paywall, so I’m reposting a version of it here in the interests of history and to ensure that we all remember Chris and appreciate his enormous contribution to our world. It’s written in Times style – the impersonal viewpoint that makes even the most NPOV Wikipedia article come over as if it comes from the keyboard of a zealot. The printed version had been subbed and will differ, but as far as I’m aware all the facts are correct.