Many years ago, I had the bright idea to help found a makerspace, as one of my hobbies is electronics. I was looking for a space to rent, but instead, I was the catalyst for finding a space, and helped to set the site up – I donated a few hundred bucks to help kickstart it, and left a lot of equipment there for people to use (I never reclaimed it – I sort of regret that but in the end it all worked out). While we were looking into setting it up, we had looked at an organization called “The Geek Group” in Grand Rapids, MI. It was supposed to be a makerspace on steroids, and at the time I really admired what they were doing.
I have, however, never been the greatest at dealing with people. While I remained,, for the most part, professional, I have learned over the years that there are some topics you just don’t talk about in a professional, or semi-professional setting. This time at that makerspace was one of those things that taught me that lesson. There are some interactions I wish I could take back. The one I’m about to describe isn’t one of them.
At the time, I had a rather large Google+ following, 6,000+ followers. I hold no illusions that a large fraction of them weren’t bots, but I still was pretty active on the platform – something else I regret. I closed that account of my own volition not long after this event. I had seen a post by that organization that, well, was not very professional, to say the least, and was very much out of line for a professional organization. I posted about it. I won’t go into details about what, it’s not important, except to note that the people I had founded the makerspace with agreed with me.
Oh, the blowback was something to behold. They posted a video with a lawyer saying they hadn’t done anything wrong (methinks thou dost protest too much!), I got messages saying “You done messed up”, and I eventually ended up taking the post down. They probably thought it was due to the pressure, but it wasn’t. It was because the people who needed to see the post did, and I saw no more reason to leave the post up, as it had served its purpose. The blowback died down, except when I asked to cancel my membership, they banned me.
I, of course, thought any organization that would ban someone for speaking out about something I saw that was inappropriate was an organization I didn’t ever want anything to do with again, told them that this was a sign I did the right thing, blocked their emails and all social media presences, and paid them no more mind. They were dead to me and I moved on with my life.
Until a couple of years later. The Geek Group, which had renamed itself to something pretentious I can’t remember, was raided by four different federal agencies. It soon shut down and auctioned off all its assets. The Geek Group is no more. I am no longer banned from there because it no longer exists. But I would have nothing to do with anything anyone from there, anyway. That bridge is burned on both ends, and I’m not about to try to rebuild it. I do not know what happened to the founder, and I don’t care, except it looks like he is in some legal trouble. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
Quite frankly, I don’t like interacting with people for the most part, and things like this are why. People stink. The folks at The Geek Group weren’t very nice people, but truth be told, they weren’t any worse than anyone else who had been told they were doing something wrong – perhaps myself included. I hold no ill will to them, nor to the makerspace I helped found, but I can’t lie – I’m generally happier just going off in my own direction and keeping my interaction with communities like that as minimal as absolutely possible. That’s one reason I didn’t really care all that much that they banned me – I didn’t really like the rejection, but I didn’t really care enough about being involved with them in the first place to be particularly torn up about it. People gonna people. Am I holding myself back from opportunities with my loner tendencies? Probably. In fact, almost certainly. I just simply don’t want to interact with any communities I absolutely don’t have to, and that’s that, I guess.
So, to come full circle to the topic of this blog. I’ve stopped studying Japanese for now. I don’t want to completely give up on it because I’ve invested a lot of time into it, but right now I’ve just lost interest. And, to be frank, it’s partly because learning a new language, by its very nature, means joining a community of people. Languages really have a minimal purpose on their own without being exercised with others. And, quite frankly, having to interact with such a community has really worn on me. It’s too much energy and I’ve just had enough. Hopefully I can work through it and return soon. But for right now, it is what it is. I will continue blogging here, but until I get back into it, the topics will probably be pretty scattershot. Again, it is what it is. Keep reading if you’d like.