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Jun. 11th, 2003 | 01:20 pm

So one of the other points in Brin's book "The Transparent Society" is that anonymity is a relatively recent thing. Throughout most of human history we've been in small communities where everyone knew everyone else.

This experiment with vast faceless cities is relatively recent in our development. We humans like to gossip, we like to know what our neighbours are doing, and in some ways we want them to know about us as well.

In a small society on the edge of survival it makes sense that one needs to know most of whats going on in everyones head. Being able to help someone whose depressed means that the group can help getting them back to being productive enough to help with the communities survival.

The historical problem with small communities is the popular people in the center get to define the norms and can oppress anyone who's different.

However I've had a long history of depression, and one of the common feelings is that no one cares about me. A smaller tighter-knit community might've been better for recognizing that I needed help. Though many would have flipped out at what I was depressed about.

The cost of anonymity is loneliness.

The cost of small communities is having consequences to ones social actions.

(Some times it's good to have consequences known identities cuts down on people being trolls, the downside is it's harder to be different).

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Comments {3}


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from: secretslip
date: Jun. 11th, 2003 01:39 pm (UTC)

You should read the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series. It has to do with small groups of people. It's really really good and the main character's name is Ayla. There are many issues with consequences of actions in small communities. Yeah, totally read it. Maybe I'll see if I still have a copy and you can read that.

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Vicky the Compost Queen

Brin's points seem reasonable

from: vixter
date: Jun. 11th, 2003 06:01 pm (UTC)

So the question is: how to apply this to your situation?

These days people belong to many different communities, but don't spend that much time in most of them.

And joining in a new group does cost resources; mostly time, sometimes money, emotional courage, and other things. And even though I am an extrovert with a capital E, I usually am quiet when confronted with new groups of people.

Where I differ from you with new people is this. I am more concerned with not appearing stupid or not being taken seriously than with my appearance. (I'm 48, overweight, don't wear makeup or dye my grey hair)

I have a point in here somewhere. Where did it go? Oh, yeah. Cal Tech is demographic-ly not a good small community for you to find a romantic partner. And I think you are on the right track by exploring the role playing games and other stuff. But the process may be agonizingly slow.

In one of your other posts you mentioned that you ended up only being friends. By being able to be a good friend is how you maintain a relationship long term. So down the road, this will pay off even though it seems frustrating now.

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Diane Trout

Re: Brin's points seem reasonable

from: alienghic
date: Jun. 16th, 2003 12:06 am (UTC)

One of the questions I keep asking myself is that although friendships seem far more stable, I feel a pull toward devaluing them for romantic relationships and they're promise of "family".

My life would be simpler if friendship sufficed for filling whatever need is motivating me toward wanting a romantic relationship.

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