Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Home of groups, cadres, circles, teams, ...
AxelHeyst
Posts: 1316
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

I get the sense that there exists an unspoken cultural norm here on the forums, which can be summarized as:

.Don't post lightly. Your post should be smart, or informative/useful, or it should be a good question that hasn't been asked yet. (This has a lot to do with the average smartness of people on the forum, and how with enough forumites we've got high level domain 'smarts' for almost all domains that will come up. It's easy to say something stupid and get called on it here.)

.Don't be too weird or show too much personality. We are sensible, serious people around here. We do things like analyze economies with custom software and plumb the depths of developmental models. (I think part of this comes from how 'weird' ERE lifestyles actually are, and so a lot of us try to present as sensible and well thought through in our IRL lives, to defend against family and friends who Don't Get It. I do this for sure. I often launch into unsolicited explanations of the strategy behind my decisions... and it's definitely a defensive ego-protecting move. I don't want people to think I'm being irresponsible.) Notable delightful exceptions to this are @7 and @biscuits, off the top of my head.

One thing I see myself doing on my ERE darknets... is relaxing into posting lightly and showing more of my personality. I let my hair down when dark in ways that I don't here on the forum.

Going back to the early days of the forum, 10 years ago, I get the sense that the culture was more of an underground batch of weirdos and misfits who were proud of being so, and posted like it. Maybe it's too bad that the forum vibe isn't like that so much? Maybe we can bring it back a bit, or take inspiration from that time going forward?

candide
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2022 9:25 pm
Location: red state America
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by candide »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:16 pm
One thing I see myself doing on my ERE darknets... is relaxing into posting lightly and showing more of my personality. I let my hair down when dark in ways that I don't here on the forum.
This is a really strong advertisement for the process of darknets taking over. I actually assumed the opposite was true -- that people were acting the way they act here, if not moreso. I'm glad a lot of people's "faces" haven't "frozen that way."

Still, there is a long list of people who put content here that isn't just defensive or reductive (or dismissive of people seen not operating at a high enough level). In fact, when I look through posts, the list of people "doing it wrong" and therefore weird, is much bigger than the very small group that are clearly the most impressive (and those impressive to the most impressive).

Some of that "doing it wrong" is people who are doing a fat FI flex -- they make so much money they don't have to penny pinch like, well, both ERE 1.0 and 2.0 call for. I don't know how much of that group makes up the MMGs, but more power to them if they like it.

But even aside from that, to this day -- from my perspective at least -- I find a lot of interesting characters here sharing interesting life experiments. If one wants to take an attitude of "I already know that shit" on the forum, then it is going to be boring -- but even then it does seem like the darknets are providing other spaces where people are willing to back and forth, which allows more teaching and a sense of community.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14435
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:16 pm
I get the sense that there exists an unspoken cultural norm here on the forums, which can be summarized as:
I've tried to preserve the pre-Eternal September culture of the internet on the ERE forum. As far as I remember (although that might be selective memory) this culture has stayed remarkably constant over the years. This culture is well described by http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html and especially the 6th rule of "sharing expert knowledge". To many this requirement feels like a moat to posting.

The content has changed over time. After a few years, the ERE forum was already known as "a FIRE forum that discusses everything but FIRE". IOW, it was a forum of people who had FIRE in common but basically talked about everything else. This is similar to how when scientists get together for social meetings and talk about everything but science.

Another thing is that the forum is largely self-selected for INTJ as in the forum is likely 90% INTJ. We do have personality, but those who stand out here are not INTJs but other types---just like INTJs stand out in groups where INTJs are rare and appear as the "Deadpan I told you so galaxy brain"-guy.

Over the years there have been people who tried to "lighten up the atmosphere on the forum" and adopting a facebook-like conversational style. Basically writing ten posts per day that were mainly one line responses of "omg lmao :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :D 8-) " w/o capitalization or much thought put into the answers nor in reading the replies to the questions they asked. This was definitely not appreciated by the general forum culture. I may be projecting here, but I think there's a lot of patience with non-expert interactions, but it is still finite and it's expected that people are asking sincerely to learn something and that they put in the effort to read the answers. Because most of us will put a lot of effort into our answers. I know this is not the standard expectation in e.g. Green culture where Q&A is more intended to keep conversations going with people focusing more on keeping each other company than "finding solutions". Perhaps this is where the darknet conversations work?

For my part, I'm quite consistent across the board of both the forums, the MMGs I'm part of, and IRL. The amount of information I share here is the same information I share with friends and family, so I don't have any anonymity concerns. I'm not writing anything that would cause controversies if my IRL relations ever learned about it. It's been my experience that most people generally don't care, but perhaps this is because I'm mainly into boring stuff.

If anything, for social meetings, I'm putting on more of a face than I do here. I try to dress nicely. I try to smile. I usually forget to initiate a "how you're doing? I'm good. And you?"-exchange, but I'm trying to remember. On the forums I'm more myself, myself basically a caffeine-fueled machine that turns problems into solutions.

I think the biggest conflict of keeping all asynchronous communication in the same space is how to handle Yellow+Orange vs Green behavior. I submit that ideally Yellow+Orange works well asynchronously, whereas Green works best synchronously and face to face? I'm basing this on very few experiential data points. Green asynchronous type exchanges are ... not-great. (Because Green usually attracts types where Te or Ti is the 10-year old of the car model at best && text doesn't really communicate much in terms of emotional state.)

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1316
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:52 am
I may be projecting here, but I think there's a lot of patience with non-expert interactions, but it is still finite and it's expected that people are asking sincerely to learn something and that they put in the effort to read the answers. Because most of us will put a lot of effort into our answers. I know this is not the standard expectation in e.g. Green culture where Q&A is more intended to keep conversations going with people focusing more on keeping each other company than "finding solutions". Perhaps this is where the darknet conversations work?
To an extent, but not (in my perception) to a huge degree. The Green-shift between forum and my MMG-mates feels real but not enormous. It's the same people, but the injection of trust (knowing each other's private information, being able to read body language, the the level of vulnerability that feels safe when you're among people you reasonably expect to not misunderstand you) and the tech format of video, *and* the fact that a lot of us are at phases where we get some significant value out of having social validation for our ERE mindsets, means that there is an element within the MMGs of 'hey let's just chat because we enjoy chatting with each other'. For me, there is a positive first-order yield/effect to 'just chatting' with my ERE crew. But keeping each other company is definitely not the point. When we run out of stuff to say or exhaust our topic, we get off the video call.

I would like to make clear that I think the pre-Eternal September culture here is pure gold and doing anything to weaken that culture is almost certainly not worth the cost. I also hope I didn't come off like I'm criticizing forum culture for being too stuffy or like I think the :lol: / analysis ratio is too low, or that anyone should act any different than they already are. If I'd thought that post through a little more, I would have written something quite different. Which is maybe ironic, or perfect timing, or something like that.

I do think the privacy concerns issue plays a big role for a lot of people. Both being anon, and engaging with anons. I don't think there's anything to do about that - the nature of FIRE goals makes staying anon prudent while in standard accumulation mode, and so many of us are risk-averse that the benefit of doxxing ourselves seems to pale in comparison to the risks. Maybe that's just because the benefits haven't been elucidated, and the risks seem large and threatening?

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14435
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:17 am
I do think the privacy concerns issue plays a big role for a lot of people. Both being anon, and engaging with anons. I don't think there's anything to do about that - the nature of FIRE goals makes staying anon prudent while in standard accumulation mode, and so many of us are risk-averse that the benefit of doxxing ourselves seems to pale in comparison to the risks. Maybe that's just because the benefits haven't been elucidated, and the risks seem large and threatening?
I bolded the last sentence, because I think this holds more often than not.

There are multiple points to unwrap here. When I first started doing ERE meetups, DW noted how I became or more precisely appeared to be a completely different person in the company of other ERE/INTJs. It wasn't social validation (I really don't give a shite about that beyond its transactional value---for some it depends more on who says it than what is said, so I'll use the "who"-strategy if it's available, because some humans :-P ) as much as it was the ability to communicate without having to explain basic stuff first. In terms of charisma I go from 7 in the company of normies to 14 in the company of EREmites. OTOH, being an introvert my need for such a "social fill" is also limited. It may be that I'm taking the "there are actually other humans like me"-feeling for granted at this point, because it's sufficiently abundant for my preference at this point. (At this point in my life, my problem is not social under-attention but social over-attention.)

The MMG groups partially function as "remote-ERE meetings". That's valuable. Perhaps it will eventually be possible to extend this so that people don't just meet within their own MMGs but also "visit" other MMGs. This in turn might tie the community back together again instead of continuing to fracture it with ever more groups. Perhaps this is what we're doing now. There's a development pattern of divergence followed by convergence and back again and so on. And now we're getting to the point where divergence is getting painful for "us" for the first time. Those who are members of multiple MMGs don't feel it, but those who are members of one or none do see it because the clearnet activity is declining even if it's increasing for the "hub-connector"-people, who are member of multiple MMGs.

The other thing is the whole anon-privacy issue that continues to haunt the mind-space of any subculture. How to be a weird individual within a collective? This is tension that will remain unresolved forever and ever. It's the CCCCCC-progression all over again. First impulse from not being able to copy is to compare and hide. Fit in instead.

It's something I went through myself, but I'm long past it and so I may no longer appreciate how hard it was the first time. All I can say is that in most cases fears are overrated. 90% of the answer is that people don't really care unless you make an issue of it. In my case, I might have travelled the easy road because I never made an issue of ERE nor did the body politics think ERE should be an issue (at the level of how gender toilets was turned into an issue), so perhaps I just lucked out.

In my case, it was the career-fear of burning bridges by suggesting that my personal interests deviated from the cause (research precise details about astrophysics). It turned out that supervisors and bosses didn't a) care; and more importantly b) didn't know/appreciate what I was talking about. ERE-language is basically incomprehensible to most career-normies. It takes someone to know someone, and most people aren't enough someone to get it.

For my brief second career as a quant, it turned out that being outspoken and breaking norms in public was actually an asset rather than a liability. Imagine that!

In terms of "family&friends", when it comes to converting people I already knew well enough from my peak oil adventures that just because you're related by DNA or marriage, it doesn't mean you're on the same page in terms of values and paradigm. (Again, I learned not to turn things into an issue; just let the environment do the talking #suntzu . In terms of convincing people, the COVID lockdowns worked much better than my words ever did.).

So for ERE, I always left IRL-normie conversations at "I might know the droids you're looking for" but nothing more. Most people aren't looking for droids because they couldn't care less. As such I've presented a functionally decoupled (see ERE book) WL1-2 image to friends and family when it comes to non-conformity. Somewhere between "I saved a bunch of money when I was working, so I'm taking a few years off to focus on my writing" (this still works 12 years later) and "I'm retired and spend most of my time talking about FI on the internet". The former works on WL1 or less. The latter works on WL3-4.

At one point, one family member did take an interest in my blog posts and proceeded to take some offense at my anti-consumer rants. Turns out, they "cared but didn't understand". But after some explanation, they're now an ally. So for those who worry, consider a 2D diagram of caring and understanding to make it easier to relate to the people you'll run into. Most people and relatives don't care and don't understand. Developing appropriate responses for all 4 combinations is worth some discussion.

In summary, my strategy has been to NOT(*) carry a chip on my shoulder. If you don't, all this privacy/anonymity probably doesn't matter nearly as much as you think it does.

Most problems whether online or IRL originate in the 5% who do carry such a chip. They may know how they are and do it deliberately. More recently, they may not know and get themselves in trouble by obliviously repeating slogans from the internets which where meant to "chip" or "trigger" other tribes, while being dumb enough to think of it as "just as joke"; or at least that's how inconsiderate moves are always rationalized (hint: "if you have to explain your joke, it was never that funny"). Something something lots of Kegan. Kegan squared and cubed. Kegan so much over and over.

(*) Indeed, some of the Stoic advice is to live your life without any chip you're not willing to sacrifice your life or reputation for. Don't say or do anything anywhere you're not willing to stand by if it were to be posted for everybody to see. I forget whether this was Seneca or Aurelius who said that.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1316
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

I try to be guided by the assumption that anything I put on the internet will be emailed as an attachment to my mom, anyone who is engaged in a business/financial relationship with me, and all domestic and foreign intelligence agencies next Tuesday with "urgent - read now" in the subject line. If I'm not willing to face the consequences of all those eyes on it, I don't post it. I do understand accumulation-phase anon status. But I'd encourage anyone reading this to contemplate working towards a Web-of-Goals that doesn't require your ERE identity to be stuffed in a closet, rather than staying anon just because that's what everyone else does. To whit: do you want your WoG to be vulnerable to being outed as an ERE nerd? Or do you want your WoG constructed in such a way that it's possible for knowledge of your ERE nerd status to strengthen it, open up opportunities?

From my experience, basically everyone I hang out with knows the gist of what I'm up to, and my life is easier for it. My inner circle knows about ERE, mid-distance circle knows about voluntary simplicity/frugality, and acquaintances know I'm up to something mildly eccentric out in the desert - dirtbag maybe? It makes hanging out with people a lot easier. I don't have to try to come up with odd excuses for things. I don't spend any time with people who find me off-putting. I don't feel like I'm living a double life.

I think this relates to the issue of how to find ERE compatible people IRL to hang out with. Well, not being closeted about it helps. It takes a while, but being open about it begins to create networks and connections in unexpected ways.

avalok
Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by avalok »

jacob wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:10 pm
Positive freedom remains a huge issue for both ERE and espeically FIRE. After going mainstream, most pursue FIRE from a perspective of negative freedom. They simply hate their jobs. FIRE is seen as a magic pill to solve that. Yet we already know that a lot of FIRE'ees default to their old career after a year in Yurop. Thinking up alternatives is hard.
This is much of what I find so valuable from the journals: I am fortunate enough to not hate my job, but thoughtful enough to realise I don't want to do it for the rest of my life. I find thinking of alternatives (emphasis on the plural) and putting them together to be particularly difficult, so being able to see what so many others are doing, so different from me, is invaluable. It would be a shame if that were to be fractured into dark spaces, rather than heaped into the subforum as now.

If I may also add, the asynchronous medium of the forum is highly beneficial given the timezone difference for myself in the UK. I'm also not sure if the MMGs are open to those of us in different time zones in that it is infeasible? That is not a critique; I'm genuinely intrigued.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1316
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

Two of the MMGs I'm in have members in Europe. Im not actually sure how much more it makes it more difficult, since ERE folk tend to have nonstandard schedules anyway. In other words, the difficulty in finding a time slot that works has more to do with people having nonstandard schedules rather than what time zone they're in. Don't let your time zone cause you to hesitate to join an MMG. :)

Bicycle7
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:37 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by Bicycle7 »

It makes me sad to think about the forum diminishing from activity going elsewhere.

Reading this thread certainly encourages me to be more proactive about engaging with ideas/conversations here.

The idea that the risks of being doxxed are mitigated by only posting what you would say to anyone face-to-face is helpful for me to remember.

I have actively read the forum for the past couple years or so. This has been invaluable, I'm thankful for all of the learning and growth. Though I'm increasingly recognizing that it could be more rewarding to engage on a deeper level with the ideas and people here.

I guess a few of the reasons I haven't posted much are; irrational fear of being doxxed, feeling I only have enough time to read the forum, not enough time to engage further and feeling I don't have something particularly interesting to add to the conversation/ideas.

I want to post more and join some of the MMG groups. ERE is an important and big part of my life that I mostly only talk at a deep level with my partner about. I have a couple friends who I sometimes talk about ERE with.

User avatar
OutOfTheBlue
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2022 9:59 am

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by OutOfTheBlue »

I think MMGs have their place and can be used in a way that is enriching both for their participants and the overall level of forum content, engagement and interactions.

However, they also present certain pitfalls, and it is good to have this discussion in the open to avoid them becoming counterproductive and result in forum withering. Credits go to Jacob for seeing the writing on the wall and for AxelHeyst for taking the initiative to bring up this thread.

The MMG format can be used through a number of ways and mediums (zoom, chat, etc,), and can be preferred over public discussions for a number of reasons, the validity of which cannot always be assessed in the abstract. One must trust that the ERE participants know better.

Because the danger is real, however, here are a few thoughts:

It mostly boils down to individual AND group awareness. The question "would this be better off shared in the public forum" could be a useful guide.

More often than not, I find that the quite personal stuff that is shared to be of much interest for me and lead to new insights and perspectives. I am certainly grateful to all that do. Of course, what (one can sense that) is left untold/aside is also interesting. Along with the how, writing in general is often the interplay between what is said and what is left out. Like music with notes and silences.

Same for the question "How could the result of a process run in a private group bring value to the public forum?". I am thinking for instance of the result of book club-type discussions. For example, what Plotkin stuff has been shared on the dedicated thread and on individual journals or threads was extremely enriching and has lead to a great discovery.

Some obviously counterproductive behaviors could be avoided:

For instance, I read in one MMG group thread that participants can chose an identity that is not linked to their forum nicknames and presence. This seems hurtful: if the participant uses two different personas, that could encourage them not to share in the public forum for fear of other group participants figuring out who they are (in the forum). If people fear to expose even their forum identities, I don't see how this can help the forum.

Then there is the example of participants who have almost no public posts and (look to) participate in or create MMGs. A rule of thumb would be to engage with the public forum to some capacity before contemplating to join MMGs.

And to commit (to themselves) to continue interacting at the forum level as they participate in private groups.

A word on a silent darknet: lurkers.

Lurking is a rite of passage and probably necessary in such a long standing and deep forum.

But by staying too long in the silent, receiving end, one deprives others of their own unique insights, perspectives and stories. This forum can be a tough crowd, but it is still welcoming in its own, demanding way. Here again, is about individual initiative, committing some time and going past the fear of exposure that an overvirtualized life may tend to aggravate.

Finally, I have a thought for all these forumites who have become silent over the years. I can only be grateful for their participation, and there is no blame here, but I cannot help but wonder whether some departures (or staying in the sidelines) could have been prevented. People can drop off for so many reasons, but striving for personal, inclusive connections, avoiding alienating behaviors and generally operating from a place of intellectual camaraderie certainly doesn't hurt. I am not saying this is not mostly happening, just a helpful reminder.

This is still one of the best places on the Web.

avalok
Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by avalok »

Thank you AxelHeyst, that is great to know. I had wondered how/if it would work, but never thought to ask.
AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:09 am
ERE2 is interesting but not personally actionable, and so draw less people. I personally find it interesting from a philosophical angle, and I'll try to share more of the philosophy I've read as it relates to ERE2, but it's just hard for WL5/6, which dominate the forum, to do much with it. Nevertheless, I do feel like I have a lot of experience in things that never get talked about here because they are outside of the overton window, which are still valuable to ERE2, so I can try to write more there.
I'm wondering if there is a bridge that can be formed to facilitate draw to the ERE2 subforum. I agree with AE here that it is both conceptually hard and not (immediately) personally actionable. There is much in that forum where I am in over my head. Would helping WL5/6 to understand ERE2 via a bridging conceptual framework help keep life in the forum longer term? I am thinking there could be a dedicated space to open up such exploration. That said, I also don't like the idea of imposing a space and making it feel forced, that really wouldn't help.

Scott 2
Posts: 2335
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by Scott 2 »

I appreciate the effort invested in offering the forums. Dark netting is a real risk. Some points:

1. Forums die. They are not a permanent archive. Eventually, Jacob will move on. It may not be intentional. Succession and continuity planning can help, but impermanence is an aspect of the medium.

2. The MMG is not a secure silo. Never post anything online you cannot afford to have go public.

3. For me - journals are the best part. Strip away all the theory and meta conversation. See what people do. I especially like discussion from those who've either retired, or figured out the accumulation phase is a false idol. What's next is the hard part.

4. I haven't found the ERE2 conversation actionable either. Maybe it's a Wheaton levels thing, but all the theory bogs down. The complexity is so high, that I doubt my ability to successfully receive the message, let alone carry a conversation with it.

5. There's been a trend towards meta frameworks that kill conversation. When people start talking about Green Blue Fe Ti, my brain turns off. Accurate communication with simple terms is hard enough. I don't have any confidence in the meta framework level conversation.

basuragomi
Posts: 341
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by basuragomi »

The most consistent outside opinion I see is that the most valuable part of the ERE forum is the journal section - unlike the MMM forums, the journals are accessible to any unregistered lurker. I agree with that, and believe the main value of this forum is as a low-barrier themed blog host/aggregator. Certainly it is popular in the leanfire community to link to ERE as a convenient rebuttal to low-WL criticisms.

At the same time, the pseudoanonymity that makes journals popular also makes a niche that the MMGs seem to fill. If the issue is declining engagement, some way to encourage updating journals with MMG exploits seems the way to go.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14435
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by jacob »

avalok wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 7:25 am
Would helping WL5/6 to understand ERE2 via a bridging conceptual framework help keep life in the forum longer term? I am thinking there could be a dedicated space to open up such exploration. That said, I also don't like the idea of imposing a space and making it feel forced, that really wouldn't help.
It probably would. ERE2 is mostly interesting to WL7+ or answering the question what to do after maxing out ERE1. A few years ago, the weight of the forum sat around WL4-5 and there were massive threads dedicated to bridging the 5->6 transition. Indeed, I suspect the is the focus of many a MMG currently.

As far as the ERE2 forum it's mostly for those, like me, who eventually lost interest in day-to-day "individually actionable stuff". Been there done that. It's intended to a) look at the bigger picture of what people who have already mastered this level might do if they connect with similarly minded renaissance people; and b) figure out ways to reach beyond those who see ERE is as a kind of extreme-FIRE (WL4 in the vernacular). Like, how do you bring the ERE message to anti-capitalists or those who think it's their duty to be a working pillar in their local community.

However, it's a journey for everyone. I don't think it can be forced in anyway. It's doubtful that people will become interested in "transcending" until they're good and ready. Development curves are rarely a straight rising line. It's a stairway with plateaus and one can be perfectly fine for years and years. One day some external event may change all one's assumptions ("Covid lockdowns -> my confidence to earn and spend money was just wiped out") or one may simply get bored ("I can already buy everything I want .. so maybe it's more fun to make some things myself").

One might see it as a ladder with steps on it. Examples on each step gives people on the step below someone to copy or be inspired by. However, if steps are taken out by going dark, there's a risk of bifurcation. As it stands now, there's public conversation about WL3-5 and WL8-9, but WL6-7 has kinda gone dark for the most part. This makes it hard to retain interest/see the point between the respective groupings on the forum.

ffj
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:57 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by ffj »

@OutOfTheBlue, Scott 2

Both very well said.



I'm probably the last person some people want to hear an opinion of this subject matter, but here goes.

I once went to a beekeeping open invitation for a somewhat local club, a twenty minute drive to get to this event. When I arrived, nobody greeted me or welcomed my presence. This was an open invitation and clearly I had never been there before. I was feeling a bit vulnerable because I knew very little about the subject and I felt like the odd man out immediately. What was worse was that once the meeting began, it was all shop-talk and inside jokes, further alienating the new people. Only after the meeting concluded did the president think to thank the new people for showing up and asked us for our e-mail to keep in touch, which I filled out. Nobody introduced themselves in that awkward time and space after the meeting and so I slowly slinked out the door. And nobody ever followed up with my e-mail information.

I've never known the explicit goal of this forum. To me, it seems as if everyone is contributing as they can but the central goal seems to be a bit lost. I think it would be very helpful to know what the end desire actually entails. I know what a lot of people derive from these conversations, and I think some of them project the purpose based on their own revelations, but has a central goal been declared?, or is this just an experiment that adapts as time passes? Have I missed something? My point is that it is hard to form a solution if the intended end result is murky.

Feel free to correct me.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 808
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I think the solution to avoid darknetting ERE is actually quite simple. Ask those who participate in Mastermind groups to make an effort to report back in their journals or elsewhere on the forum. I think most of the AxelHeyst MM group members are either posting at the same rate they were prior to the MM group, or more. I've noticed a similar trend in journals for the Electric Boogaloo MM group. I've personally done at least three or four "report outs" based on MM projects and outcomes.

Most of those willing to take the time and effort to join and participate in a MM group will be happy to pay it back by continuing to actively participate in the forums.
Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 9:50 am
5. There's been a trend towards meta frameworks that kill conversation. When people start talking about Green Blue Fe Ti, my brain turns off. Accurate communication with simple terms is hard enough. I don't have any confidence in the meta framework level conversation.
I'm glad you brought this up and it is something I was thinking quite a bit about yesterday. We tend to use a lot of coded language around here, and that creates a large barrier to entry for newbies, or even long-time members. It is my understanding that some of that is by design. That the forum is the "graduate school" of ERE. It is pretty tough to understand what people are talking about around here without a working understanding of Wilbur, Keagan, Wheaton, Myers Briggs, and a variety of other models. I was having trouble even keeping track on what the going rate of a JAFI is these days :lol:

If we assume that there is some natural attrition of active members, we will ultimately find a narrower community and limited discussions due to the entry barriers. If the forum leveled up to WL 5/6 in the last year or two, it is only natural that much of the discussion here is less accessible to those at lower levels (recall that the number of people in the population dramatically decreases as you move up the WL chart). This would explain why we've seen a shift from forum discussion to more active journals. The journals are a relatively safe space to engage without grokking all of the meta frameworks discussed elsewhere. This is all reinforced by @AxelHeyst's observations here, which I largely agree with:
AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:16 pm
I get the sense that there exists an unspoken cultural norm here on the forums, which can be summarized as:
This isn't an argument to dumb down the conversation. Perhaps just a suggestion that the decline in forum participation isn't really the result of the network effect or dark netting ERE. It seems like most of those in multiple MM groups are still quite active on the forums and some are actually engaged in really interesting projects that extend the ERE message to new communities.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14435
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by jacob »

ffj wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:51 am
I've never known the explicit goal of this forum. To me, it seems as if everyone is contributing as they can but the central goal seems to be a bit lost. I think it would be very helpful to know what the end desire actually entails. I know what a lot of people derive from these conversations, and I think some of them project the purpose based on their own revelations, but has a central goal been declared?, or is this just an experiment that adapts as time passes? Have I missed something? My point is that it is hard to form a solution if the intended end result is murky.
The purpose is to create a path out of Plato's Cave (= spend all your life earning and buying). (See ERE book chapter 1 or Stoa Talk2). The strategy for doing this is to have active participants on the forum at different points of the journey. This way everybody can get inspired by those who are bit ahead on the journey while helping those who are bit behind on the journey. At this point, there are people all the way from the bottom of the cave to the top. However, the process only works if there's a critical number of people at each point of the journey. If some point of the journey goes dark, the flow gets stuck.

The ERE forum is really no different than a school with different students. The "older" students help/inspire the "younger" ones. The ERE book is the textbook for this school. The blog contains the research notes. Also see: https://earlyretirementextreme.com/about-the-blog

At this point (15 years later), I think it has gone beyond the experimental state ("is it possible to live an interesting life while being sustainable on $7k/year") and turned into a solid program ("it works for a lot of people"). As I/we learn more, the scope increases ("what if more and more people did it"). ERE used to be at the pioneering level for an individual (me). Now that there's a solid forest of individuals, it's at the pioneering level for a community (us).

Add: I should also add that I think this forum-"school" is a more effective approach than me writing another book or even returning to blogging. There's strength in numbers but more importantly, there's strength in the cohesiveness of maintaining "a tradition" or a system. People coming to the forum, learning, and eventually making it. People caring about the success and failures of other people. The forum is more than a platform for a bunch of individuals to post. It's also move than just a platform for debates. There's a direction and a flow towards increasing understanding. My focus is on maintaining the existing flow and possible extending it.

ffj
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:57 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by ffj »

@Jacob

What is your process for maintaining the critical number of people at each stage? Or does it naturally happen? Where is the biggest problem in this regard?

Maybe if we knew the answers to these questions then we(forum members) could specifically help better. I have heard many very helpful suggestions but they still are loosely tied to a central theme. It's brainstorming at its best, but I think if the problems were specifically defined then solutions could be fine-tuned also.

Apologies if some of this stuff has already been addressed but I don't read everything here which is probably the norm for most visitors I would guess.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6758
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by jennypenny »

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 9:50 am
5. There's been a trend towards meta frameworks that kill conversation. When people start talking about Green Blue Fe Ti, my brain turns off.
There has always been a lot of shorthand on the forum. It's annoying to learn, especially since the search function doesn't allow for searches of 'WL6' or 'Fe Ti' ... too short. It was a barrier to entry but at least it used to be useful shorthand and directly related to ERE development, so worth learning. I still don't have the WLs internalized but I at least understand the groupings and there's a chart on the wiki if I feel inclined to check it during a conversation.

The past couple of years though, the forum is using a lot of shorthand that IMO doesn't directly relate to the ERE journey and it makes it really difficult to follow conversations. I am familiar with my own MBTI but not other types, or the car metaphor (I have read about them but not committed them to memory). Same with all the SD color-coding ... read about them but that's the extent of my interest. The shorthand is useful during discussions specifically of those topics, but now it's used all the time in other threads that have nothing to do with them. It's really pervasive and I have no interest in learning them or posting an SD color chart over my desk just to be able to understand ERE threads.

I assumed the heavy use of shorthand was a deliberate method of gatekeeping -- an unstated barrier to entry, specifically to ERE 2.0. I thought jacob only wanted participants who were willing to put in the work to learn all the WL/SD/MBTI shorthand. Reading jacob's explanation though, maybe that's not the case? From my perspective, it feels like the MMGs and heavy use of shorthand are all the same thing -- the forum's version of secret handshakes and sub-clubs that are meant to give other people the impression that they aren't welcome. I assumed it was a deliberate shift on the forum and took the hint, as it were. Otherwise I'd always sound like a noob, which would be strange after 10+ years on the forum.

Bonde
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon May 31, 2021 5:21 am

Re: Let's talk about how to avoid darknetting ERE

Post by Bonde »

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:08 am
There has always been a lot of shorthand on the forum. It's annoying to learn, especially since the search function doesn't allow for searches of 'WL6' or 'Fe Ti' ...
...
The shorthand is useful during discussions specifically of those topics, but now it's used all the time in other threads that have nothing to do with them. It's really pervasive...
I still consider myself fairly new here. I dont think the colors is that pervasive and to me it didn't seem like a deliberate exclusion of people. More like a group that shares a specific interest and understandable has their own slang.

I agree with the search function. Another forum I use has a google search engine for the forum and it works well.

I remember a thread with the best posts on the forum. Maybe it could be link in the "ANNOUNCEMENTS" to make it easier for newcomers to learn the important topics of the forum.

Post Reply