January 27, 2021•564 words
As I've aged, I’ve constantly gone through community after community. Each time I 'grow into' a new place and leave behind the one before, I look back on myself and the people in that community and wonder how I was ever a part of it. In my mind, I've matured; now, that old community is for immature people (like my younger self).
Take for example /r/PCMasterRace (and the whole of Reddit, I guess, but that's for another time). I went through a period about a year ago in which I thought myself more intelligent than others - actually part of a master race - because I understood how to 'build my own computer' and that 'building a pc is way better than any alternative in all cases and you're stupid if you think otherwise.' (In quotes because I didn't and because I was wrong, respectively). Naturally, these ideas did not hold up for very long. You had me for a few months there, /r/PCMasterRace. I've escaped your clutches.
The thing is, I am constantly doing this, months at a time, and the communities that I leave don't just die after I depart. Those people on /r/PCMasterRace are still there. Moderators, active users, lurkers - a large portion of the community that existed when I was obsessed still exists and is still just as obsessed as I was. People are out there preaching the gospel of the Nvidia 3090 to people that just want to buy a fucking laptop.
There is a larger question to answer here: Is it all just a matter of perspective? Though in this case the answer is obvious, it may be that I am not growing out of those communities but rather away from them. It could be that my growth is nonlinear and I’m simply jumping from community to community rather than climbing up a ladder (as I have always envisioned it). I feel as though it would be... conceited of me to assume that every community that I leave is simply lacking in maturity compared to myself.
I guess there are a few possibilities here:
- Communities that I join when I am younger are appealing to my immature self; the people in those communities are less mature than I am and I am maturing
- The above is true, but almost everyone is constantly doing the same thing and the only reason that these communities are still 'growing' is because new people are joining and inactive ones aren't leaving. The law of the small minority (or whatever it's called) - that most of the content in a field is created by a small portion of the total people involved - could be at work here. People could be constantly coming and going, and there be just a mostly-stagnant group in the middle that stays where they are. *(does this make sense?)
- I am jumping from community to community and my interests are simply changing; I'm not leaving exclusively because I mature, but due to various factors (one of which could be maturity, it just doesn't have to be the root cause in all situations).
Which one it is, I can't say. Maybe there's a fourth or fifth option that I'm not taking into account. This is interesting to think about, and I'll keep it in mind going forward to see if I notice anything further.