Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

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Devil's Advocate
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Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Devil's Advocate » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:54 am

Why do we keep coming to these forums? I thought it might be interesting, and instructive, to explore our reasons, to lay bare what exactly we expect as well as actually get, from this place.

I was thinking, a four-way grid would be a good way to present this. “This applies to me / This doesn’t apply to me” along one axis, and “This is good, and let’s have more of this / This sucks, let’s try to check this” along the other axis. But then I’m not very computer savvy—correction, I’m not *at all* computer savvy—so I’ll settle for a simple list, noting down the points as they apply to me, with a (good, bad, ugly) comment within parentheses.


So then : Why do I myself keep visiting this place, these ERE forums?

1. Being non-consumerist is an iconoclastic stance, given today’s milieu. While I generally do my own thing without really worrying much about others’ opinions and support, I do nevertheless have enough of sociable instincts to feel comforted and comfortable when with like-minded folks, who are difficult to find in the ‘real’ world. (I would call this a “good” reason. Nothing wrong in seeking out like-minded people to talk to.)

2. In general these forums draw rather wonderful people (that is, people who are uncommonly educated/well-read, uncommonly articulate, and in many matters more reasonable than most people ‘out there’). So it’s both instructive and fun to talk of all kinds of stuff (as we do talk of all kinds of things here) with people here. (“Good” reason again.)

3. Interactions here can get addictive, much like I imagine Facebook users would get addicted to posting and reading stuff on that site. (I myself don’t facebook, or social-network : if you leave aside this particular website, and exactly one other website that is way different from this as regards subject of discussions but has as exceptional quality content.) I find myself compulsively tuning in here at times. For instance, I’d been away traveling with my family recently, and I found myself clicking away participating in a discussion that wasn’t remotely urgent. It took my wife actually shouting in exasperation at me to bring home to me that I was acting like precisely the kind of data addict that I generally despise. (So, definitely “bad” reason. Need to cut down. Once, at most twice a week should be more than ample, at least as far as I am concerned. Anything more than that : cut down, definitely.)

4. My own form of ERE is income-independent (that is, independent of income apart from what comes in from passive investments), but it isn’t exactly expense-independent (a concept that Jacob’s posts and comments got me thinking about). My expenses are small enough, and we DIY a good deal, but nevertheless we are very dependent on those things that we do spend on. And ERE means being independent of both sides of the equation. (It’s not just about labels, or filling in arbitrary conditions of someone who’s happened to have thought up this whole ERE thing : this specific point of Jacob’s makes a good deal of sense to me.) So in that sense I do have lots to learn here. (A “good” point, certainly. A VERY good point.)

5. Many of you do your journal thing here. I don’t, because I discovered this place after having already achieved those goals myself—FI, and early retirement. But I’m thinking of starting to journal my journey towards a more expenditure-free lifestyle. I have lots of ground to cover there. (Another very “good” point. More participation here called for.)

6. Habit. Much like going across and speaking with your “real” friends, visiting this place becomes something of a habit. (That’s neither “good” nor “bad”. Not all habits are bad, not as long as they don’t degenerate into compulsiveness or addiction—my #3 above. So with that qualification, all good.)

7. I’m able to share lots of things here that I would generally not discuss even with most real-world friends. My specific financial situation, for example. (So that’s “good”, in that it lets you talk of things you can rarely talk of outside. But it’s also “bad”, very bad indeed, in that your personal data is getting recorded here, for anyone and everyone to see. That bad / potentially dangerous aspect can be taken care of by being EXTREMELY careful about maintaining anonymity here, as I myself—and indeed most others here—do.)

[ Here’s a pointer/tip, by the way, for new people here. Not an “official” view or an official ERE pointer—I suppose only Jacob can have and present an official ERE view—but just my own thoughts. Remember that what you’re saying here isn’t remotely private. So it may be a good idea to mask not only your name and location, but also a few personal details. Just in case. The downsides to having your financial situation known to the world at large can be risky—or, at the very least, irritating. Why take that entirely unnecessary risk? ]



That’s about it, I guess, as far as I am concerned.

What about you, why do YOU come to this place, these forums, and what do you take away from here?

USAF Sgt
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by USAF Sgt » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:27 am

I would guess a majority of people here are more interested in the "Early Retirement" part than they are the "Extreme" part. I may be wrong, but from a lot of the threads I read, that's the impression I get.

I'm here for the Extreme part. The simple living, anti-consumerism, DIY ethics and self reliance Jacob mentions on the blog.

Chad
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Chad » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:38 am

I have never come to the the forums for financial info, other than some investment discussions. The blog provided more than enough ideas to move my lifestyle the little bit more I wanted.

I come because many on here have a good thought process, which isn't super common in day-to-day life. This creates a lot of good discussions that can lead down interesting rabbit holes.

Dragline
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Dragline » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:04 pm

Yeah, that's basically it. I like the people and its easier to find people here that have similar values than in a lot of other places.

And I believe this is the ground floor of a movement -- not of a large, angry mob demanding change or something involving a lot of organization and leaders, but of quiet individuals all moving in the same direction. A new kind of American Dream not based on accumulation for its own sake or measuring "better of than the last one" by those kind of metrics. What was once a trickle has now become a stream and may soon become a river as like-minded people find each other.

I am always interested to see who comes here and why.

George the original one
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by George the original one » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:04 pm

It is the best idea brokerage around.

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Ego
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Ego » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:41 pm

Yeah, ideas. There is a broad collective perspective here. I enjoy commonalities that cross disciplines and am a big believer in surrounding myself with those who are better than me in areas where I want to improve. There is a depth here that permits that in just about every aspect of life.

Tyler9000
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Tyler9000 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:10 pm

Inspiration, support, ideas, and community.

jacob
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by jacob » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:42 pm

First and foremost, the people! Second, I kinda own the premises ;-P

While people come and go [once they feel they can no longer learn anything], there's a certain "culture" of people and values that I can't find anywhere else. Its virtues has already been described above.

My main worry is that some day my host gets nuked and I lose my virtual connection to everyone---I do have a backup plan or rather a backup person for that though 8-) Strangely, I've never really reached out personally to people or "fraternized" IRL other than a couple of ppl but I still feel like I can trust you guys more than the cliched "friends and family". Too bad ERE city seems like a virtual (or rather IRL) impossibility.

lilacorchid
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by lilacorchid » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:24 pm

I have no one IRL to talk to about this stuff and I get so tired of swimming against the current. It's nice to fit in for once in my life. And it's also nice to get some feedback that isn't a raised eyebrown and a "omgwtfbbq" from people.

stand@desk
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by stand@desk » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:21 pm

We keep coming here because we like it when the very good posters have something new and interesting to share (I have my favorites). Plus, we come back to see if anyone on the site likes our posts and has responded to them. Other than that, we want to know what the next developments in ERE are! And finally, we want to learn from others and add some of their shared ideas to our personal philosophies or update long-held views to something slightly different because we do change even if we don't notice it at first.

5to9
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by 5to9 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:27 am

I think for me half of the reason is the interesting content and intelligent discussions.

The other half is reinforcement. All day long the rest of the world reinforces the consumerist mindset, and the time I spend reading here helps offset that. I don't have to always learn something new for it to be valuable. Reading other journals helps me immensely.

Riggerjack
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Riggerjack » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:04 am

''I come because many on here have a good thought process, which isn't super common in day-to-day life. This creates a lot of good discussions that can lead down interesting rabbit holes."

This.

I came, looking for info, but this site has the best discussions. I'm pretty far out there in the J side, and the people here are worth respecting, even when they are wrong. I tend to dismiss people I disagree with. Because, usually, when people disagree with me, it is because they haven't put much/any thought into their opinions. I appreciate the depth of thought that goes into the opinions of the folks around here.

It's not an INTJ thing. There are INTJ sites all over, but either they are posers, or they don't have enough invested to put the effort into expressing their ideas. Plus, some of the best stuff here comes from the non INTJs.

Really, it's the quality of the posts on average that keeps me coming back.

Plus, all day long I'm surrounded by consumerist culture, a regular dose of reality is always a good thing.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:15 pm

This is the only place I can get social support for the notion that I do and can continue to have a fun, fulfilling life on less than $9000/year. Also, I need encouragement to earn and save more money than that and many people here are good at that sort of thing too.

Sclass
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Sclass » Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:43 am

Great topic. I've often asked myself why I keep coming back here.

The people.

People here have thought things out intelligently and then go out and execute based on what they thought out. That's surprisingly rare IRL for me.

This is the first gathering I've been too where I feel normal.

Wait, I actually feel normal while walking around on the streets of Berkeley. :lol:

1taskaday
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by 1taskaday » Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:39 am

I am a complete addict to this site, always catching up on the threads and developments in the journals.

Why?

It seems to "soothe" my mind.

I love following the different opinions and angles taken by the different contributors-I go away mentally calm and sated by what I have read.

It is as if I know my mind will have plenty to "chew" over for hours after I stop reading and will give me a mental break from my obsessive self-analysing.

theanimal
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by theanimal » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:55 pm

For many of the same reasons as the others, mainly the radical viewpoints/ideas and the community of like minded people. We have a great thing here!

Devil's Advocate
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by Devil's Advocate » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:43 am

1taskaday wrote:I am a complete addict to this site, always catching up on the threads and developments in the journals.

Why?

It seems to "soothe" my mind.

I love following the different opinions and angles taken by the different contributors-I go away mentally calm and sated by what I have read.

It is as if I know my mind will have plenty to "chew" over for hours after I stop reading and will give me a mental break from my obsessive self-analysing.
Ding! Warning bell!

You do, half-jokingly, yourself talk of actually being addicted. But far more than that actual reference to being addicted, that part where you graphically talk about what it's actually like, the "soothing" part of your comment : that's *exactly* what an addiction feels like, soothing.

Not that all addictions are bad, of course. Getting addicted to your daily run or workouts or meditation sessions, for instance, is great : but getting hooked to, as in actually addicted to, a social-networking site, even one as "evolved" and informative and friendly and generally harmless as this one, may be something to wean off, just a bit. Or, of course, to continue, if you want to on conscious thought.

I'm addicted to reading, for instance--as very many are, of course--and I sometimes, just to cut the dependence, go a full week without reading anything, not even newspapers and certainly no books and no Internet. And you realize how that soothing feeling actually puts out a fist to grab you, even when it relates to something as harmless as reading -- much like nicotine addiction, for instance, does (I used to smoke when I was a student, and for a few years after, so that's experience speaking).

P.S. Sorry if that sounds like pontificating. Wife tells me I tend to do that sometimes. Just thinking aloud is all, and airing my J a bit. Please ignore if you find the comment intrusive.

1taskaday
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by 1taskaday » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:39 am

In answer to your "warning/alert" which is always received graciously, (as only open-minded people can keep learning and improving in this world-which is an INTJ's natural propensity).

Over the years I have come to know myself more and more...

I know I constantly crave mental stimulation in the form of new ideas, information and opinions.

I cannot bear talking/listening to "nonsense",ie small talk,gossip,sharing personal trite(I have now accepted that this is not arrogance but a constant need for mental stimulation rather than mundanosity).

This I have satisfied throughout the years through escaping into academia and studying. This was a very expensive way of satisfying this "craving“ for knowledge and information.

I am now on the ER path and to satisfy this mental craving,I read "high content" sites (Ha, Ha, Ha) like ERE, Simple Living in Suffolk etc.

I don't spend money on any reading material...

When I am ER,I intend to travel intensively for at least 5 years, maybe more (if I l continue to love it), But for now while I am on my ER plan/path to escape “mundanosity” I will read ERE etc.

I have also read “The power of Habit-Why we do what we do in life", so I think as long as I keep my habits harmless and FREE,I should be OK...

GandK
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by GandK » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:18 pm

The caliber of conversations here. That's my favorite thing about the forums. I find myself becoming interested in subjects here that I would not otherwise care about simply because they are being discussed by people who are intelligent, thoughtful, and willing/able to separate their own opinion from acknowledged fact. Even when they feel passionate about the subject at hand, most people here fight hard to stay reasonable. I occasionally suspect that has become so rare in a collection of online strangers that this forum may now be the only thing saving rational online debate from an EW conservation status.

jacob
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Re: Why do we keep coming to these here ERE forums?

Post by jacob » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:24 pm

At least some of that "reasonable behavior" is thanks to our team of moderators who do their part to ensure that the conversations don't default to, uh, normal human standards ;P

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