Geeky Animosity. Is it Tribalism?
By on July 30th, 2010

A recent interesting article by Mark Shuttleworth on his blog talks about an unheard term: Tribalism. I knew otherwise of Tribalism until now. Mark Shuttleworth defines this new Tribalism as,

Tribalism is when one group of people starts to think people from another group are wrong by default. It’s the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism. And the most dangerous kind of tribalism is completely invisible: it has nothing to do with someone’s birth tribeand everything to do with their affiliations: where they work, which sports team they support, which Linux distribution they love.

According to this, Tribalism arguments; that make people think they belong to a better tribe are as baseless as “the other tribe has not done anything useful” or “my world is more important than his” or “evidence contrary to my belief does not count” and so on.

With this in view, Shuttleworth has pointed out how this is hampering the free software world. Tribalism here, does not necessarily relate to tribes from jungles. It can be ultra-modern urban tribes. We can consider tribes of music fans who hate other bands and likewise. In the free software world, this behavior is seen as fanaticism. Shuttleworth writes about this saying,

Right now, for a number of reasons, there is a fever pitch of tribalism in plain sight in the free software world. It’s sad. It’s not constructive. It’s ultimately going to be embarrassing for the people involved, because the Internet doesn’t forget. It’s certainly not helping us lift free software to the forefront of public expectations of what software can be.

However, in my opinion fanaticism is not exactly the root cause of Tribalism. However, it can lead to Tribalism if two fanatics clash in time.

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Author: Chinmoy Kanjilal Google Profile for Chinmoy Kanjilal
Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at Techarraz.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

Chinmoy Kanjilal has written and can be contacted at chinmoy@techie-buzz.com.

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