That exactly. I’ve been a member of car enthusiast boards for the various cars I’ve owned. Lots of good info on maintenance, performance tweaks, etc. And a certain amount of chewing the fat in general. But …
When I sell that car I have no further need of that board. And what fat-chewing there is is still centered around those cars and the people who drive them. Occupational boards or hobby boards are the same. Much more transactional: “How do I connect a gizmo to a doodad? Thanks all. G’bye till next time I have a question”.
Here, for whatever accident of history, we’re not like that. Mostly we’re not all the same. Yakking with folks from South Africa, Australia, Finland, and that really exotic place called Chicago. Not all engineers, not all stay-at-home parents, not all college students. It’s more like Noah’s Ark, where there’s two of everything here. Which two often provide very different perpectives on whatever it is they have in common. Be that an occupation, a hometown, an education, a disease, or a hobby.
I don’t think we can say really anything useful about why that happened. Right mix, right place, right time, right luck would be my answer. But it happened to form a self-sustaining mix.
But knowing that we are successful, at least in the sense of still being here at all, we can maximize that future success by trading on what we are, rather than trying to become something we aren’t.
Stay open to international participation. Emphasize things that let us connect as people, not just as disembodied experts or opinion-spreaders/spewers. Most of all, preserve the civility that helps us all remember that the words of others we read aren’t coming from bots to be shouted at; they’re coming from actual people with feelings just as sensitive, prickly, and rubbed raw as our own.