There is nothing I dislike more than communities. They are places where reasonable, intelligent people come to dilute their individuality and reveal their worst characteristics. A community always mirrors its weakest members. You can have a thousand smart people and three idiots come together, and as a result you'll get a community of 1003 idiots. Individual voices always merge within communities to create one shrill, annoying, unintelligent voice. A community does not exist until it figures out ways to exclude some people and marginalize others. You can always reason with an individual but almost never with a community.
To give an example, I was recently invited to join a review program. I'm sure that everybody has heard of these programs where you get products for review as part of promotional campaigns. Knowing me, it isn't hard to guess which reviewing program I've been asked to join. I'm not supposed to discuss the specific details of this program, so I won't. All we need to know for the purposes of this post is that I found out about this program last summer and then took measures to be asked to join because of the type of product that this program mostly sends out for review. My strategy worked and I will now be happily reviewing these mysterious products.
Yesterday, I decided to check out the forum of this reviewing community. Oy vey, people, is all I can say about it. The amount of self-congratulation for being part of a group that has limited access and the almost hysterical attempts to make sure that the access remains limited were daunting. There is a strict caste system based on how long one has been part of the community. "Newbies" are put through a system of trials where they have to prove that they are worthy of being included. As a result of this hazing, poor new members engage in massive sniveling aimed at ingratiating themselves with long-term members.
I'm sure all these folks who make up the community are perfectly nice, reasonable, intelligent people. It's just when they get into a community that a tiny speck of jerkdom that every person has multiplies and transforms into one huge jerk-fest of a community.