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    These have been floating around FOR-EVER but I’m glad they keep cropping up. I see evidence of these constantly in just about every technical community I inhabit.

    They were an eye opener for me at the time. Particularly #2 (accept me as I am) and #4 (transitive).

    Grokking the fundamental falsehood of some of these deeply was definitely a step towards finally growing up in certain ways that I REALLY needed to (and had for a long time).

    I also credit having successfully jettisoned #2 with being why at age 35 I finally started dating and met my wife :)

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      I recognize some of these patterns, but I don’t think I associate them with technical communities. Where I’ve run into them is in “cultural geek” communities, those organized around things like fandoms. This could be idiosyncratic based on which specific kinds of both communities I’ve run into though.

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        I’ll take your word for it. In my case, the degree ov overlap between technical communities and various fandoms is extremely high.

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          That’s interesting and believable too, which is why I added the caveat that it could well be idiosyncratic. I’ve definitely read about this kind of thing in my area, artificial intelligence, e.g. the old MIT hacker culture. I just haven’t encountered it in person, and it always felt like something that existed way before my time. Out of curiosity, what kinds of technical communities have you encountered where the overlap is high?

          The AI conferences I personally go to do have a handful of geeky people, but way more business/startup/government/military/professor types. A bunch of these factors pretty clearly don’t apply as far as I can tell, for better or worse. For example, socially awkward and/or unhygienic people are pretty much jetissoned without a second thought if someone thinks they might interfere with funding.

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            So, I want to be sure to constrain this properly.

            I came into the Boston technical scene in the early 1990s. At that time, the overlap with the Boston science fiction fandom community was HUGE as it was for the Polyamory and BDSM communities (of which I’ve never been a part. Vanilla and proud yo :)

            In fact, I pretty much got my start in the Boston tech scene by showing up at a science fiction fandom oriented group house in the middle of a blizzard and passing out my resume to anyone who’d talk to me :) I ended up living in that group house for a time.

            I’m fairly sure this isn’t representative of the here and now. Our industry has become a very VERY different place several times over since then (mostly for the better) and I suspect that younger folks are being drawn from a much more diverse background of interests.

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              Hah interesting, I know some people who I think had a similar kind of experience in the SF Bay Area in the ’90s, living in group houses to get broadband internet and such. I got into tech in the late ‘90s in suburban Houston, which might have had a geek scene, but if so I didn’t know about it. The tech scene I was exposed to was much more “professional engineering” oriented, anchored by people who worked at NASA or NASA contractors (plus some people doing tech at oil companies).

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          I’m not found that to be the case, even here in the Lobsters community in its forum and chat forms.

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          I’m curious how #2 motivated you to start dating. Were you just generally more receptive of criticism from friends, and if so, how does that translate to wanting to start dating?

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            Not so much about wanting to start dating, but being willing to make the changes necessary to be perceived as attractive.

            “Friends accept me as I am”.

            Who cares if I have a giant sloppy beard, dress in sweat pants and faded T-shirts all the time, and generally take PRIDE in not giving two shits about my personal appearance? My TRUE friends will accept me for who I am and see past all that.

            Except that this is the real world. How you look DOES matter. Shave the beard, lose a few pounds, buy some decent clothing and it’s a whole different ballgame.

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              I definitely agree with what you’re saying, but it reminds me of some definitions from Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X :

              anti-victim device (AVD) - a small fashion accessory worn on an otherwise conservative outfit which announces to the world that one still has a spark of individuality burning inside: 1940s retro ties and earrings (on men), feminist buttons, noserings (on women), and the now almost completely extinct teeny weeny “rattail” haircut (both sexes).

              … and:

              personality tithe - a price paid for becoming a couple; previously amusing human beings become boring: “Thanks for inviting us, but Noreen and I are going to look at flatware catalogs tonight. Afterward we’re going to watch the shopping channel.”


              Some parts of a given personality are stupid and need to be shorn so the person can have a more interesting life. It’s easy to lionize the idea that someone can be Good Enough, or, in somewhat different subcultures, Cool Enough, that you never have to compromise on those things, but even if you luck into a job where that works, it doesn’t and can never work in a healthy personal relationship.

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                Sounds like I need to read that book!

                I don’t personally see it as compromise.

                The truth is that my self confidence was in the shitter at that time. My personal appearance was just one outward manifestation of that.

                Recognizing that I needed to make changes if I wanted to meet someone and be less lonely was a first step towards letting go of some of that baggage.

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          I would propose a 6th GSF:

          The struggles of your friends are not your own struggles–similarly, just because somebody has a similar struggle to you, doesn’t automatically make them your friend.

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            This originated on LJ years and years ago. Still deeply true. I now think of it as one of the first essays demonstrating real cracks in the 80s/90s hacker utopia worldview.

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              Would be interesting to trace it back to the original author and give them some credit. Deep truths there.