Reading - Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution

31 May 2015

Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution, David Chapman, 2015: discusses how once successful and thriving subcultures die at the hands of what he calls “MOPs” (members of public) and “sociopaths”.


Before there is a subculture, there is a scene. A scene is a small group of creators who invent an exciting New Thing—a musical genre, a religious sect, a film animation technique, a political theory. Riffing off each other, they produce examples and variants, and share them for mutual enjoyment, generating positive energy.

The new scene draws fanatics. Fanatics don’t create, but they contribute energy (time, money, adulation, organization, analysis) to support the creators.

If the scene is unusually exciting, and the New Thing can be appreciated without having to get utterly geeky about details, it draws mops.

A related article on Less Wrong, via the Hacker News discussion: Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism