A few years ago a friend thought it would be really cool to have a jujutsu forum open only to people he had hand-picked. Robert wanted intelligent people who wouldn't get into bullshit turf wars. I told him he should change the name to FORWAS-- "Friends of Robert Who Aren't Stupid."
Recently, another friend tried something similar. He tried to create a collaborative of hand-picked experts. The trouble is that one person's expert is another person's kool-aid drinking moron.
Everything, for me, devolves around a value/cost ratio. Maybe it does for everybody, but if so some people are doing it really wrong. Everything involves a certain amount of time, attention and usually aggravation. What are you getting for it? Facebook, for instance, is very close to the line for me. The only saving grace is that I can ignore it, sometimes for weeks. I gave up BBS (Bulletin Boards) while I was in Iraq. Too time consuming. Not a lot of new information. When I had more time and access I found I didn't miss them.
At a deep level I'm pretty mission focused. I like teams because they are effective. I have a deep attachment to a small group of people but it is almost entirely based on what we have accomplished together. I've never joined an organization or group just to be a member.
Conversely, I've almost never been uncomfortable in any group. Not into what they were into, sure. Sometimes with a deep antipathy to what they stood for (remember my day job for years was to be locked into a dorm with 16-190 criminals.) But I never felt uncomfortable. Never felt either that I did belong or that I didn't belong. So I could hang with Kurdish smugglers and operators and criminals and cops and even a handful of people who can only be called saints. Atheists, pagans, exorcists and mystics. And always enjoy them as people.
But I never really understood the need that makes some people take a belief as an identity and seek out others with the same belief. Take that back. I do understand it. I've watched that tribalism on many levels my whole life. I do understand it, can predict it...I've just never felt the need that drives it. So understand the mechanism, but not the motivation.
Some very wise person once said that whenever a new tactical team is formed, the first order of business is to design a patch. It came up with my team once and I said, "It doesn't help with the mission. Do that costumes and jewelry bullshit on your own time." Completely surprised by the negative reaction. To many people, the symbols are the tribe.
And that's one of the reasons I like the VPPG. Just people getting together to solve problems. Mutual respect without some kind of hierarchy or structure. The system is for function and hasn't become a ritual. Effort going into the tribe is not going into the problem solving.