For the last two days I have been subscribed to a discussion forum, something I generally don’t do. It wasn’t quite intentional — I wanted to attend a meeting of this professional community, so I joined up, and the default state is to receive an email whenever somebody posts.
I doubt I will stay in this forum, because I am getting far more emails than I am interested in getting, but meanwhile it is intriguing to witness the mechanics by which a community continually sorts itself out. Everybody who posts means well, but there are quite a few clashes between well-meaning newbies and indignant old pros.
I suspect some of these old pros don’t realize just how mean they sound, as they castigate some unfortunate newbie for breaking some rule of decorum or other. Apparently “Don’t be gratuitously insulting to well intentioned newcomers who don’t know any better” is not one of those rules of decorum.
Imagine a world where such a rule was built into every community. I wouldn’t mind living in that world for a while.