Geminispace vs. Beeblebroxians
“I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.”
-- Douglas Adams, “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”
i really hope geminispace doesn't become hip. Over the years, i've seen a number of communities become dominated by people who have apparently joined less because they're attracted to the underlying philosophy and values of a community, and more because they're seeking the status of being an ‘early adopter’ of a non-mainstream space. In particular, some such people don't care as much about the philosophy and values as they do about having ‘trend-setter’ status, and so need the space to become as popular as possible _even at the expense of the philosophy and values_. Communities that had formed in an attempt to provide an alternative space find themselves getting pushed back towards having the very sort of characteristics from which they were trying to find a refuge.
Some people just can't seem to comprehend the notion that popularity isn't necessarily the primary goal. FOSS project after FOSS project gets lectured by users on how they'll never be successful unless they do X, as though ‘market share’ is the only possible metric for ‘success’ that anyone could (or should) consider. Myself, i'd be happy if geminispace became popular because lots of other people agree with the philosophy and values behind the Gemini project[a]. But i wouldn't be happy if geminispace became popular because it had moved from being a souped-up-Gopher to being a Web-with-slightly-fewer-flies.
In the Haskell world, there's a phrase: “Avoid success at all costs.” A number of people have parsed this as “(Avoid success)(at all costs)”, i.e. “Doing anything necessary to avoid being successful”. My understanding, however, is that it's intended to be parsed as “(Avoid)(success at all costs)”, i.e. “Success regardless of the costs is something to avoid.” Of course, different people can, and do, have different assessments of what the costs are. But i think it's useful for people to take some time to consider what type of ‘success’ is being sought by a community, and that when proposing ‘improvements’, they take some time to consider what the costs might be - not only to particular individuals within the community, but to the character of the community in general.☙