On the New Forum, and the Evolution of Pheromone Forums Over Time
  • The following is in part an excerpt from a communication between me and dbot concerning the new forum and my hopes for it, along with a few personal thoughts on developments and shortcomings of forums past:

    "When Pherotruth started, it was fantastic, a wonderful breath of oxygen-saturated, revitalizing air, and yet over time it began to rust and degrade under the pressure of human differences and disagreements. My hopes for pheros.net are high, and, as I said in my introduction, I hope there is some truth in the phrase "Third time's the charm." Pherotruth undeniably made a huge step in opening up discussion of various vendors, both well-known and more obscure, but this led to its own problems, as vendors and consumers alike developed their own vendettas against one another.

    In addition, I noticed the very interesting phenomena of creating a "mythos" about the vendors, which I wrote a long post to counteract: people took the Walter White nickname ascribed to Gary at Liquid Alchemy and extended it. It seemed that all of the major vendors were beginning to be given analogous monikers from Breaking Bad and beyond. I thoroughly enjoy the series Breaking Bad, but it is certainly a story that is tense, dramatic, and at times very dark. And as I stated in my post there, I have no doubt that there is power in names. Or, to clarify, it is not the names themselves which have power necessarily, but rather, there is power in stories.

    There is power in context. And names function as a shortcut to these stories and contexts in a way which may easily short-circuit our minds into ascribing particular characteristics to individuals who do not necessarily possess them. The name "Gus Fring" is not in itself indicative of a set of characteristics, but for an individual familiar with the character, it is a mental shortcut to brilliant, cold calculation, tyranny, two-facedness, and a complete disregard for the well-being of anything other than the character. Place this name on a vendor (as was done on the forum), and as rational as we may try to be, the subconscious will gladly take the shortcut without the consciousness being aware. Saves work figuring the true subject out. Especially when this is done in a place where we are not in direct contact with the individual named.

    We are already functioning on a dearth of information and making a flurry of assumptions and theories about people which are quickly and often incorrectly either retracted or confirmed in our minds. A lot of uncertainty, and a lot of work. Now propose to the subconscious a modern archetype or fully-fledged personality for the subconscious to gain hold of. This is significantly more difficult to counteract than the gradual assumptions the subconscious was already forming, even if we actively will a reversal with the conscious mind. So yes, I had a fairly big problem with the handing out of names to vendors (just as I've almost always had a problem with people giving ready-made descriptors like "James Bond" or "Marilyn Monroe" to specific mixes.) And that was one of the less visible problems with the forum. Rant over. :)

    I hope the new forum flourishes and avoids the problems that plagued previous forums. In my mind, Pherotalk, Pherotruth, HTH, and now Pheros.net are in a way not entirely separate entities, but rather an evolution of this idea toward the ideal, each reiteration coming closer to some Plato's cave allegory-style perfect forum. Pherotalk really got things started by introducing effective products and research to a variety of people, and pulled in some of the greatest and most perceptive minds, but it was too secretive, too profit-motivated and thus, eventually too fear-mongering and paranoid.

    Pherotruth wrenched open the field, brought in different vendors, allowed for a much freer discussion, and again found a number of truly passionate and intelligent individuals who see the potential in pheromones and related fields. But the presence of so many competing vendors and competing personal interests has left it fractured.

    HackingTheHive was fantastic in theory. The layout, the breadth, depth, and resources, encompassing not only pheromones, but a holistic view of pheromones in the bigger picture of improving ones mind, body, and spirit and the social ramifications of these improvements. I'd actually venture to say that HackingTheHive was too ambitious, not in and of itself, but in the context of the evolution I am describing. It's the closest reflection of the ideal in my mind that I have seen so far, but we're just not there yet. It's like we tried to skip a step. We don't know enough; we don't quite have the power or knowledge or time to sustain it. Maybe pheros.net will be that step we skipped. I hope to begin making my own contributions soon, though I'm currently neck deep in work and haven't had a chance to write up any posts, though I have been testing and keeping mental notes. I should be able to start posting in not too long."

    If anyone has any thoughts to add to this, or would like to proclaim me full of shit, you are more than welcome to do so. I'm looking forward to some real discussions. :)

  • Thanks for posting this. I really like your evolutionary perspective on the development of the pheromone community.

    And I think you're exactly right about the problem with HTH... It's where I'd like to see the community go, but not where the community is yet. I think the pheromone community has still never fully recovered from the early Androtics confusion, and hasn't yet really found its soul.

    I hope that over time, an open and predominantly research-oriented discussion will naturally lead us toward philosophical development. And there's good reason to think it will -- it's threatened to happen in the past every time the community has rallied around the idea of understanding pheromones as a central part of our social world. When the conversation swings more toward the vendor-focused conception of pheromones as social drugs aimed at scoring hits, then the signal to noise ratio degrades and the spiritual development of the community stagnates. It's like the difference between white magic and black magic.
  • I can agree with most of what you both have said here.
    A point is also that those forums will continue to exist (I hope).
    The noise and conflicting interests, the myth creation and such will then stay there and there would be little reason for it to move over here :)

    Those places have their own original purposes and it's up to their owners to try to hold the form or get drama and noise taking over. Profit is also a part of it, I guess. And newbies will still get some valuable info there.

    I sense the intentions here are a bit different.
  • You make a good point. A wise man once advised me to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

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