Reposting a comment I just made (slightly altered to be more general) so that more people will see it. I wrote it in response to a comment based on the idea that there are insiders and outsiders among commenters. That’s an understandable idea – there are people who know the background of a lot of issues discussed here because they’ve been following them for awhile, and there are people who don’t. Sometimes the people who don’t make comments that miss the mark because of the lack of background. That can be frustrating, especially when the comments consist of angry scolding based on reading a post by, say, Thunderf00t and thus lacking all context. But dividing people into insiders and outsiders is a bad idea; hence the comment.
I really don’t want to divide people into insiders and outsiders here. That’s junior high school stuff, you can’t sit at our lunch table stuff. I want new people – aka “outsiders” – to read and enjoy and join the discussion.
Now…some of that insider v outsider happens anyway, or as it were “naturally” – i.e. without anyone spelling out that that’s what we’re doing. But if that is what we’re doing…well we shouldn’t be.
On the other hand – there is a certain ethic that builds up over time. There are understood conventions, and so on. Casual jokey sexism isn’t popular here, for instance – and since it’s not a particularly benign thing in itself, I think it’s ok to object to it somewhat sharply. But I don’t want us pouncing on anyone who’s new here as if this were a club with a secret code. I really don’t. That’s just a barrier to new people. Plus…well, it ain’t nice.
That’s part of what critics dislike about blog culture, you know. It’s part of what the goons who rant about the mythic beast “FTB” have in mind. It’s that insider thing, that gangs up on outsiders. It’s groupthink; group dynamics; the Robbers Cave experiment; all that. We don’t want to do that. The goons aren’t wrong to frown on that.
On the other hand the goons themselves help to elicit it, by being so goonish, by trolling, by being so selective in whom they scold – so that’s part of why we get so defensive.
But let’s not.
Let’s try to assume people have good intentions unless they make it obvious that they don’t.