No criticism intended – just an observation
Hi Benjamin, good to meet you.
I meant no criticism – I could not resist making the point, the aesthetics are so obvious. Unlike you, I did not ask around for feedback around the relational side of this ER experience. Personally (and only personally) I find the roughness quite liberating. In the LOTE conference, someone had the idea to do a session called “Dark sarcasm”. The whole point was to venture out of one’s comfort zone, in areas like system collapse, YOYO vs. WOOO etc. You were sure to get verbally abused for saying stuff like “we could use solar” unless you were familiar with the math (how many Kw per square meter of state-of-the-art solar panel?); and when somebody got sniped, everyone else would cheer (including, often, the person being abused). It was very refreshing: we could turn things around in our heads, be crazy and creative in suggesting things because the nutty stuff would be immediately shot down by the others. It was a tough environment for ideas, with strong evolutionary pressure – hence rapid progress. That someone (Smari, I think) got it right: if you don’t criticize an idea for fear of hurting the person that suggests it, you are missing learning opportunities. Plus, once you are out there trying to start some crazy project, the bad guys will throw all of those criticitisms at you – and your idea will have an underdeveloped immune system to fight them off with.
This is by no means a characteristic of Edgeryders alone. At CCC, the conference spurred by the Chaos Computer Club – possibly the most impressive hacker conference in Europe – MCs introduce Q&A sessions as follows: “Don’t thank anyone and don’t say who you are, we don’t care. Just ask the question, then sit down.”
This might sound horrible and mean, but it just saves you so much time. Very soon it sinks in that that’s the way things work, so you stop taking it personally. And in the end, you come to expect from your friends and respected peers to go for your throat in debates: better they do it in the seminar room than life doing it in the field!