A Circle is Not a Community

"Shells and sea-life" (1901)

Communities celebrate connectivity; they look for numbers, scale, and group cohesion. An admin validates a slack group or a mailing list in numbers, but a circle looks at increasing context and group divergence. A circle creates value in the space between our differences, misunderstandings, and habits.

Before introducing yourself to a community, you might scope it out for its do and don'ts, language, and jargon. These factor to the way you render yourself. Once established, it will be difficult to change that view;

"But I thought you do THIS, not THAT."

Communities are developmentally governing. If I can change my practice, I will need to change my communities.

Circles are places for continuous oscillation—space where you can render and re-render yourself. There is an inherited epistemic affordance to circles. When people change or develop new and fragile ideas, they will make little sense. Oscillation and integration are the cycles of intersubjective space.

When we enter a space looking for things in common, we inadvertently create a reciprocal ecosystem. A place where you feel like you must "bring something to the table."

Thank you for reading this developing thought; it builds on earlier ideas from Communities to Circles.