← journal

How Communities Die

Highlights

David Chapman’s “Mops, Geeks, and Sociopaths” is a theory of how communities deteriorate.

geeks (creators and fans) make a community “cool”, contributing to it out of the love of the game, and then mops (normies) come in to enjoy the scene.

creators generate cultural capital (i.e cool), fans generate social capital (network of relationships), and mops generate liquid capital (i.e money that subsidizes the scene).

mops causes problems, mainly because they free-ride off the geeks and offer little to the community.

until sociopaths emerge, who pretend to be geeks but take advantage of the mops.

a community is started by geeks, who then bring mops as fans, who then entice sociopaths to pretend to be geeks to sell stuff to mops but instead use the community for their own ends, spoiling the purity of the community.

I think it’s more common for a community not to be ruined by sociopaths, but rather too many mops, whose mere presence taints the community and the brand

The communities or brands people join or follow signal just as much who they are as who they are *not*.

As soon as normies/mops flood, the geeks leave in droves, lest they be associated with mops.

Often a brand is disliked not because of what it does directly, but because its fans are perceived as annoying or lame.

In order for movements to endure, they need to be either deliberately exclusive like universities — but cloak it in some greater aim like egalitarianism — or obscurely exclusive just by being hard to understand.

Inclusivity in the streets, exclusivity in the sheets.