The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Mastodon — Crooked Timber

Via, who I knew would be a good follow. The parts I liked are here:

Or you can just go straight to

«Mastodon (or at least the bit of Mastodon that I’m familiar with) has the strengths and weaknesses of strong community. Those with the community ethos and identity fit right in, and find it not only welcoming but downright comforting. If you don’t fit in though, all that Gemeinschaftery is a whole other story. Strong communities tend to be really parochial, far more homogenous than they like to acknowledge (minor internal differences loom larger than they ought, because the internal discourse is organized around them) highly sensitive to outside criticism, and wary or hostile towards people who don’t look right.


Community is great up to a point – you want to hang out with people like you. But it also has a tendency to get insufferably narrow minded over time: the same people, rehearsing the same old arguments, and vigorously pushing to exclude outsiders who might disrupt the status quo. Exposure to different people with different viewpoints is fantastic – but all exposure all the time gets you jaded very quickly.

So what I want is moderately cohesive communities, with enough weak ties between them that ideas, arguments, memes can be generated by people very different to you, and spread to you, and that you can spread back. That itself is going to have its difficulties – the idyllic notion of communities happily engaged in mutual discovery and happy broader comity does not reflect the actual networked behavior of actual human beings.»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.