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  • Showing only topics with the tag "sociology". Back to normal view
    1. Specialty fatigue

      I've been noticing a social effect lately and I'm curious about others' takes on this. I'm calling it "specialty fatigue" because I've noticed mostly in specialty communities. I differentiate...

      I've been noticing a social effect lately and I'm curious about others' takes on this. I'm calling it "specialty fatigue" because I've noticed mostly in specialty communities. I differentiate between this, elitism, FAQ annoyance because there seems to be a more complex cause at work.

      To put it in general terms, specialty fatigue is caused by the overexposure to others' work in a given area of expertise. Whereas elitism is more of an ego driven personality traits, and FAQ frustration arises from repeatedly answering the same basic questions, this fatigue seems to be caused by seeing too many things that don't live up to standards (often arbitrary personal standards, but sometimes can be industry standards). In others words, people notice their industry getting flooded with novices getting away with crap they'd never tolerate. It can be disheartening and disillusioning. Most often, it results in the community of specialists becoming overly critical of things that didn't originally bother them. People who were once helpful and encouraging become raging internet monsters.

      I see this happen a lot because I'm a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none, and largely autodidactic. I don't have very many strong opinions on how things should be done because I've learned to constantly question the efficacy of norms, and try to establish a system that just works best to achieve the results I care about. Despite that, I'm still interested in finding out how others go about doing things, or even just listen to the sort of stuff they care about. What factors do specialists find worthwhile in determining quality? How feasible is it for me to achieve those results?

      Quite often, specialty communities are so corrupted by overexposure that many members of the community start acting as gatekeepers. "If you can't afford decent equipment, don't even bother." And they'll criticize anything that could remotely be interpreted as a newb question or point of view, frequently to the point of acute toxicity where just about any discussion becomes unfeasible.

      I'm a propenent of openly sharing knowledge. But the offshoot of increased introductory material is that there will be a corresponding increase in novice level production. I can see why people might be bothered by that (personally, I'm not), but it blows me away that anyone would be surprised by that. That's exactly how it seems sometimes, though. Almost as if people just wanted to show off how much they know without anyone else using that knowledge for anything productive.

      This seems like the social deflection point between "old school" methods of passing down specialty knowledge (apprenticing, higher education, family businesses) to "new school" methods (look it up online and just try it out). With the removal of a mentor figure from the equation, there is less of a filter for what's quality and what's crap. Add social media into the equation and there seems like there's a constant influx of garbage into every industry out there. But for specialty communities, it definitely has an "end of the world as we know it" kinda feel because it seems like the entire specialty is getting flooded with subpar work that is a threat to their livelyhoods.


      Has anyone else noticed this sort of thing? Do you have a specialty? If so, what trends have you noticed within that field regarding apparent willingness to share information? Have you ever dropped a hobby because people seemed to take it too seriously? How do you personally feel about the balance between open sharing of information vs keeping secrets (for example, a technique a process from which you derive a substantial portion of income)?

      Edit: Fixed a typo. Can and can't are a bit different. Oops.

      18 votes