Mar 18, 2009

Development of the English-Language Socionics Community

I have been sensing recently that the English-language socionics community is entering a new phase of development -- one of increasing fragmentation. This article discusses the causes and implications of this evolution.


Socionics forums
Originally, people were drawn together to the16types.info to discuss socionics, because there was nowhere else to do so. Socionics.com was where the bulk of socionics information could be found, but the site (as far as I know) did not have a forum at the time.

The16types.info grew, and eventually people settled into the community, and differences of opinion began to form. A group splintered off and created Socionix.com. At first this was not too successful, but after the passing of a few (?) years, it appears that the new forum is reasonably active and here to stay. At some point, a forum was established at Socionics.com.

A number of single-member forums were attempted, but none of these were successful. Next, the Socionics Workshop project was created. At first not too active, through persistent efforts it has become stable and reasonably active.

Most recently, the former admin of the16types.info created his own socionics forum and seems to have been successful in attracting a certain number of people to it. His persistence in socionics related projects will probably guarantee some measure of success.

That makes 5 viable forums now, instead of 1 just a few years ago. Recently, I have noticed people taking on new usernames at the new forums. This reflects a desire to break with the past and participate only in one or maybe two forums instead of jumping from forum to forum as they used to. The sense that there is a single socionics community seems to be gradually disappearing.

Socionics wikis
Something similar has happened with socionics wikis. Wikisocion was created to be something independent of any socionics 'schools' that might develop. I did not foresee that fragmentation would lead to the creation of new socionics wikis as well as new forums. With an emphasis strictly on amassing information, I did not think that Wikisocion would develop the same social problems as socionics forums typically do. Now there are wikis in place at socionics.ws and metasocion.com (coming soon). Naturally, building an active wiki community takes much more than simply setting up the software, and both of these competing wikis could well end up the sole domain of a single contributor, but given an active forum community that is already in place, both these sites stand some chance of creating a viable socionics wiki over time.

In short, fragmentation is the new trend, and every breakaway group has the bright idea of generating its own texts, own forum, and own wiki, which are not easily distinguishable in substance from the others. It seems that the main motive for this is not dissatisfaction with existing information, but interpersonal animosity: people want to keep doing the same activities as before, but without the aggravating presence of "certain individuals." More on animosity later.

Parallels with the Russian-language socionics community
Basically, the same processes are taking place, but with some key differences. Most importantly, the practical development of socionics in the West is not occurring as thoroughly as in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania due to the fact that almost all discussion and communication is online. Seeing that socionics is a kind of applied psychology, trying to use it in person, in groups generates more skills and understanding than discussing it over the Internet. Hence, for now at least, the factions that have formed in the English-speaking Internet are not able to really develop any collective know-how beyond some common general approaches used in online discussion. Due to their years of hands-on experience, socionics groups in the former Soviet Union have been able to amass much more know-how and are still far ahead of their western "colleagues." Blessed with free time and an intellectually conducive environment in the USSR during their early years, they were able to work together synergetically in ways that seem unlikely in the more materially preoccupied West.

Implications of fragmentation
Whereas up until a few years ago the spirit of the online socionics community was generally one of cooperation, now more competition is evident. Multiple forums and wikis must now compete for active members. Each community tries to create its own body of knowledge in order to be autonomous, even though it that body differs little from that of other communities. Each forum or wiki or other project is ultimately about the same topic, with almost no specialization possible in practice. This means that each forum is in direct competition with the others and defines itself through overt or implied references to "the other forums." This direct competition seems to perpetuate existing ill-will between communities. Indeed, competition seems to be the defining aspect of the current phase of socionics. Judging by how the Russian-language socionics community has developed, it may well be permanent.

The type of competition that is evolving in socionics is more akin to the competition of business or politics than to that of academia. It is a competition for website hits, popularity, and influence among the mass consumer rather than for recognition within one's professional community (although undoubtedly there are elements of politics and business in academia). To their credit, Russian and Ukrainian socionists are making efforts to develop a professional community, mostly to collectively defend themselves and the field from the ill effects of outsiders who misrepresent socionics for personal gain and engender negative public perception of socionics through their careless practices. Not to say, of course, that mainstream socionists don't make mistakes or always conscientious. Socionics as an pre-academic field is particularly vulnerable to abuse by entrepreneurial or neurotic individuals. Rather than the thorough, rational academic, nowadays it is the savvy independent website developer who wields the most influence in forming popular perception of socionics. Socionists basically find themselves in the same position as practitioners of natural healing -- vulnerable to quacks and at the mercy of those who form popular perception of the field and whose websites are at the top of search engine results. Recognizing their vulnerability, socionists begin to focus more on promotion, advertising, and Google page rank and somewhat less on developing the field of socionics itself.

As more and more people develop their own personal formulations or interpretations of socionics and write about them as "socionics," the neophyte experiences greater and greater conceptual confusion when trying to learn about the subject in English. A review of the two books published on socionics in English reveals significant differences in theory and method. A review of information sites on socionics confirms this suspicion. Indeed, as a beginner to socionics in Ukraine in 2000, I found the amount of information on the subject (in Russian) simply staggering, yet ultimately found only a very small amount of it to be actually necessary and useful. The rest was redundant, superfluous, speculative, or misleading or plain false. Almost everything of value had been derived from Augusta, so studying her writings proved more important than reading anything else, though some people find her style hard to digest.

Animosity in socionics
Anyone who has participated for any length of time in socionics forums has encountered animosity -- often shocking in its vehemence. At one forum you read about how another forum sucks. As a website owner, you get messages telling you you're an idiot and a failure (as well as thank you messages, to be sure). Forum comments about the stupidity of other forum members or information sources are everywhere. People are quoted incorrectly; their motives are misportrayed. This animosity seems to have grown over the past few years and become institutionalized through the formation of competing forum communities.

Long-standing socionics practitioners literally have to pass through a prolongued bath of negative emotions to remain in the field, and few are capable of making it through without becoming embittered, even traumatized on some level. Those who seem impervious to the negative emotions tend to lack intellectual depth.

As I have mentioned, animosity goes hand in hand with competition for limited resources (active forum members, personal popularity, popular perception, advertising or book revenue, etc.). Competition, in turn, is the result of having no niches to develop (i.e. it's all just "socionics"), and also because of the lack of science in the field (i.e. there are no objective criteria for choosing between competing views).

But perhaps most of all, animosity arises because socionics is about people. Community members inevitably use it on each other (by typing, labeling, and categorizing), often causing offense and bad feelings. Participants of socionics forums reveal a lot of themselves and end up becoming vulnerable. While the personal disclosure is necessary to build relationships with friends within the community, it will inevitably be misinterpreted or judged less positively by others, who are then likely to refer to you unflatteringly behind your back. We are all guilty of this at socionics forums, and it seems unavoidable due to the nature of the subject. Too much personal information and sentiments shared publicly by too many people builds a foundation for interpersonal animosity. Within a community of regular members, such as an active online forum, there is no way to reduce exposure to potential enemies; they are all there in one spot. This allows bad relationships to flourish along with potentially good ones, and the spirit of personal disclosure and analysis, and getting and giving feedback on things that are personal, that is inherent to socionics, provides the spark to set the process in motion.

Let me rephrase that thought. I think the basic source of animosity comes from having too much personal contact with people with whom there is no natural basis for friendship (for whatever reason). When boundaries are crossed with the wrong people, animosity arises. Socionics encourages people to get more personal and open up more than they normally would, since the topic of discussion is personality, right? As a result, more boundaries are crossed with more of the wrong people, especially on online forums where there is no way to handpick one's audience. This is a recipe for a morass of bickering and in-fighting.

As a result, we get a rather perverse situation where a field that has a lot to say about personal growth and interpersonal relationships spawns a community that actually breeds animosity as one of its side effects. I'm not the first person to say this; a while back I found an article online in Russian, called "Socionics: the Science that Teaches Animosity" (copy of article posted here).

Conclusion
From my point of view, the processes taking place are natural and inevitable. I tend to think that if it could be any different, it would be.

While socionics can be applied individually with positive results (in my experience, at least) and discussed fruitfully among friends and similarly minded acquaintances, making socionics a topic of discussion among larger groups seems to invite contention. When a stable community develops, animosity and eventual fragmentation appear inevitable, and discussion is plagued by a lack of scientific method. Commercial and territorial interests eventually arise, and a mixed bag of people are attracted to the profession, where there is no accountability or quality control other than one's own internal guidelines. The conscientious and responsible then form associations to protect themselves from outsiders. Hopefully, at some point the field of socionics is overtaken by rational, empirical science before anything really bad happens.

____________________________

Follow-up Dec. 2009
This post deserves a follow-up at some point. The reasons for this are the failure of McNew's individual socionics projects, my 8-month hiatus from all things socionic, and a recognition that some of my assessment above was colored by my own sensitivity to animosity, ill-will, and bullying behaviors.

16 comments:

aestrivex said...

Rick --

I do not agree with some aspects of your categorization of the fragmentation of the socionics community and I think in some respects your analysis suffers from a lack of direct experience with many of the individuals and domains you're discussing.

Obviously, animosity over methodology and interpretations of socionics is one of the key reasons that the socionics community has splintered and broken into several strands. These strands are not all created equal, and your distinction of "5 viable forums" is not necessarily appropriate. It is, for instance, very clear that the community at the16types is by far the most active of any of the existing socionics forums. socionix.com and socionics.com have both gone through periods of substantial inactivity in addition to periods of moderate activity; to a lesser extent, this is also true of the socionics workshop.

Moreover, your analysis does not give any mention to the different emphases that the various forums accentuate. socionix.com, though in practice a discussion board with complete lack of moderation emphases, is generally a discussion ground for individuals who wish to discuss socionics ideas rooted in model X; most of the regular participants on this board enjoy the relative freedom that this atmosphere disseminates. metasocion.com is a discussion ground primarily emphasizing socionics-alchemy ideas (admittedly i am less familiar with whether this actually goes on there or whether the environment is similar to the16types). The socionics workshop is a board intended for focused and serious discussion of socionics topics, with an emphasis on classical socionics; the participants there enjoy the less hectic and more directed atmosphere. socionics.com is a highly isolated and self-contained community from the rest of the forums mentioned. the16types.info is a conglomeration of all of these ideas, and is evolving and growing as well under new administration.

It is not appropriate to suggest that the fragmentation of the socionics community is a result of "a competition for website hits, popularity, and influence among the mass consumer rather than for recognition within one's professional community." While its true that very little in the socionics community seeks professional validation (indeed, the minimal literature on socionics that has been published in English should clearly attest to the amateur nature of the field, at least in English). At the same time, the suggestions that the fragmentation and dispersal of socionics forums is akin to a popularity contest, and that all forums are "ultimately about the same topic, with almost no specialization possible in practice" is nonsense. The three existing "splinter forums" (socionics.com is not really a splinter forum) all have extremely different emphases and ideas about what models and ideas within socionics are worth pursuing. While metasocion.com has demonstratedly undergone a series of disreputable tactics (in my opinion) to attract attention to the website, both socionix.com and the socionics workshop, while obviously espousing one particular viewpoint of socionics, seem relatively content to live in a state of seclusion. I, for one, would not like to "defeat" the16types or socionix and have everyone "convert" and flock to the socionics workshop; such a state of affairs would undoubtedly attract a lot of needless negativity and conflict. I am concerned for the welfare of the socionics workshop, but I would much prefer to have people there that want to be there because they enjoy and approve of the atmosphere and the philosophy of the workshop. While I cannot speak for the leaders of the other forums, no doubt these individuals have their own perspectives on the benefits of their own particular community emphases.

Your seeming belief that an increased reliance on scientific methodology will disperse the animosity and dissent is naive. Academic psychology as a field is a domain that rivals politics, economics, or anything else of that ilk in volume of argumentation. Psychology as a broad discipline is characterized by a large number of subdomains, all of which have their own specialized versions of theories that are at odds with each other. Personality psychology in particular in an academic framework is characterized by widespread opposition over the validity and application of the MBTI (in business frameworks, etc), the universality of the big five traits, and, in the past, the person-situation debate (which decried the notion that personality as an individual construct was a myth). There are a myriad of other bickering disputes and contradictory interpretations of scientific evidence that I have less knowledge of. In my opinion, it's important to be aware of the scientific evidence that exists -- but "rational, empirical science" is not a viable solution to eliminating bickering, animosity, and ill will over different interpretations of theoretical aspects.

In my opinion, psychoanalytical, neo-Freudian (like the Jungian concepts on which socionics is ultimately based) and even new-age techniques and concepts very much have their own place in understanding the "personality puzzle" alongside academic and clinical psychology.

The basic and only solution to this issue is, I believe, what the fragmentation of the socionics community represents: a presentation of one's ideas so that anyone who feels they are interesting, useful, or valuable can discuss them as desired, coupled with a separation from the communities that espouse ideas that are deemed uninteresting or not as useful or explanatory in furthering one's understanding.

Rick said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

1. I realize the forums are different in strength or activity level and are not all equally "viable." However, what makes the current period different is that a significant number of people have chosen one or the other forum as their permanent abode and no longer appear at the others. Furthermore, the number of forums has grown to the point that it is no longer "the16types vs. the anti-16types forum," but rather a real differentiation of forums.

2. I understand the different emphases of the different forums, but chose not to highlight that aspect because it doesn't explain where the animosity and competition come from. While each forum tries to portray itself in a different light and is more or less successful in developing its own unique culture, the actual subject matter subject to discussion at different forums is almost the same. You can show up at any of the forums and do things like a) ask for a type identification, b) give your opinion on an intertype relation, c) suggest a socionics related hypothesis, and you would be understood everywhere. That's the common language of socionics, and it's shared by each of these forums, no matter how they try to differentiate culturally. In other words, you can choose from any of those forums when deciding where to take your socionics discussion. While not perfect substitutes, they are like whole wheat flour versus enriched wheat flour, not like wheat versus milk. This makes them direct competitors. That said, forum culture tends to differentiate more than forum subject matter (in my opinion). All forums still fall under the umbrella of socionics and largely use the same terminology.

3. "It is not appropriate to suggest that the fragmentation of the socionics community is a result of "a competition for website hits, popularity, and influence among the mass consumer rather than for recognition within one's professional community."

>> True. This is only applies to developers of competing socionics platforms; this competition simply did not exist several years ago, when there was just one of each kind. The fragmentation of the community itself is, in my opinion, the result of interpersonal animosity. Then, as soon as alternative platforms are developed, website competition appears as a natural consequence. You build a forum, for instance, and someone invariably brings up the topic, "so how are we going to attract more people to the forum?" Each website/forum developer must think about where he's going to get his community from.

4. "The three existing "splinter forums" (socionics.com is not really a splinter forum) all have extremely different emphases and ideas about what models and ideas within socionics are worth pursuing."

>> The emphases are different, yes, but they are aren't that significant for my purposes here. The terms are the same, the subject is the same, the emphasis is different. It's like choosing between the "Fighting Global Warming" forum, the "Understanding Global Warming" forum, the "Global Warming is Baloney" forum, and the "Global Warming and Hindu Mysticism" forum. They all draw upon the same audience -- those interested in global warming. Each community is well aware of the others and defines itself in large measure by how its attitude towards the others. This is particularly evident when a new project appears, such as the socionic workshop wiki, and states its purpose. It's not like, "I love the16types so much that I wanted to go out and create my own forum that's just like it."

5. "Your seeming belief that an increased reliance on scientific methodology will disperse the animosity and dissent is naive. "

>> To "fix" socionics, one would need to not simply add a bit more scientific methodology to it (this would not work, as you say), but ignore socionics altogether and study people and interaction from a purely empirical standpoint from ground zero, taking no socionics into consideration. Of course, there would be personal animosity and ardent discussion, but things are ultimately very different when there is a basis of data behind a field that can be examined at face value. For example, imagine that discussions of "so, what's my type" were replaced by "so, how do I find out what my levels of neurotransmitters are?" In socionics there is simply not enough data to have productive scientific dialogue, so discussion instead revolves around people's perceptions of socionics and other things that have no proof.

6. Yes, psychology is a mixture of empirical branches and old-fashioned theories of personality and the psyche. I don't have much first-hand contact, but my impression is that competition and animosity are more prevalent in the latter. There's animosity surrounding the MBTI because it is a mental construct with poor validity. If it were based exclusively on data with just a small element of conjecture ("so, what does all this data mean?"), things would be very different.

7. "In my opinion, psychoanalytical, neo-Freudian (like the Jungian concepts on which socionics is ultimately based) and even new-age techniques and concepts very much have their own place in understanding the "personality puzzle" alongside academic and clinical psychology."

>> Probably. My extreme rationalist views may in part be a reaction to the morass of socionics.

8. "a presentation of one's ideas so that anyone who feels they are interesting, useful, or valuable can discuss them as desired, coupled with a separation from the communities that espouse ideas that are deemed uninteresting or not as useful or explanatory in furthering one's understanding."

I agree, but no lasting advancement in human knowledge takes place as a result, just individual advancement. For there to be lasting progress for humanity at large, socionics would have to be integrated into rational science.

aestrivex said...

I do not for the most part agree at all with your suggestion that the forums use a common language. Asking to be typed at metasocion.com will lead to a very different set of theoretical assumptions than being asked to be typed at socionics workshop, or at socionix. The nature of how types and functions are viewed differs quite significantly from these forums -- so, there is an extensive difference in the substantive subject of discussion of all of these forums apart from the predominant culture.


One of the biggest issues I have with your response is that probably the biggest single source of animosity is the existence itself of different interpretations of socionics. If the nature and interpretations of the subject matter were all the same, then there would be much less reason for argumentation and squabble. It's true that this is not the sole reason for animosity; a select few individuals have basically also taken up the more general pastime of trolling. In general, though, any antagonism is almost always a result of disagreements on socionics matters.


In general, I think that your desire to entirely explain interpersonal interaction by neuroscience is relatively misguided. I am under no circumstances an expert in neuroscience, and I don't know the extent to which empirical findings in neuroscience are disputed (indeed, neuroscience is in a sense a "hard" science with some conclusions in place already primarily about the mechanisms of sensory processing, for example, that are fairly unchallengeable). At the same time, there's no way for you to apply neuroscientific findings without an existing cognitive model or set of hypotheses; in general, I don't think that neuroscience is going to approach the theoretical complexity of socionics anytime soon. But if you feel bitten by the neuroscience bug, good luck and all power to you.

Brian said...

I think it is painfully obvious to all that the reason behind the fragmentation of the Socionics community is two-fold:

1) Naturally, people will seek out people of favorable type relations and discriminate against those that they are not compatible with. This is an inherent aspect of the theory that cannot be changed.

2) Socionics, like anything else related to psychology, will tend to attract people with personal problems. However, in my opinion, Socionics is not a very good platform on which to change one's self. If anything, it will distract people from the real issues that must be addressed. I am not saying that Socionics is completely useless as a self-development tool, but it has many weaknesses that need to be rounded out through genuine introspection that is not affected by Socionics.

Brian said...

As far as using cognitive neuroscience as a factual basis for Socionics and other personality theories - while definitely the wave of the future, limits in technology and scientific understanding of the brain prevent this approach from being viable. Based on the current level of research being conducted, we are at least 7+ years away from having a foundation that would be conducive to any serious discussion.

Rick said...

Thanks, Brian.

>>However, in my opinion, Socionics is not a very good platform on which to change one's self. If anything, it will distract people from the real issues that must be addressed.

I agree with this. I've stated elsewhere that socionics has really helped me, and I think I'm one of the few I've known who feel they have tangibly benefitted from it. However, looking back at things now, the reasons the changes were able to happen at all were unrelated to socionics -- I happened to be in a favorable environment, especially finding a rare dual soulmate at work right at the time I learned of socionics, as well as other factors.

Socionics can help you approach personal issues from productive angles, but then it saddles you with so much difficult material and theoretical quandaries to digest that you can start losing out on life. For many people active in the community, it can have the effect of narrowing your world rather than expanding it.

I'm really at a loss as to how much socionics is worth promoting. When I see people learn about it and respond with "oh, cool, that's really interesting!!" I see a need for more easily digestible information that can help more people. But then I visit forums and see the opposite happening -- people mercilessly putting each other down because their perception of an unproven philosophy of personality is off. I want to be contributing to greater rationality (in the classic sense) and wisdom in society, not to greater madness.

Rick said...

Brian,

>>"Based on the current level of research being conducted, we are at least 7+ years away from having a foundation that would be conducive to any serious discussion."

That's still good news. Given the current level of research being conducted in socionics, where will that put us in 7 years? :))

Brian said...

Rick,

I still think that Socionics has a lot of merit.

Socionics is a great theory that can lead to significant self-development in people who DO NOT have serious personal issues of their own. Someone with a lot of problems will not become free of them, even if they are surrounded by duals and favorable types.

In your case, I think that your problem was your circumstances, the situation you were in, but you were not really suffering from any significant neuroses or other psychological disorders. Obviously, Socionics is very apt for identifying positive or negative interpersonal situations.

I first came to learn about Socionics around 3 years ago, during a pretty rough patch. After a while, I was doing everything possible to run away from it, because I began to see the negative impact it was having on my life and my efforts to turn things around. Since then, much time has passed and my life has completely changed. I feel that I now have a stable foundation upon which I can learn more about Socionics theory and apply its principles to my life to find more compatible relationships. Socionics can surely be beneficial, but it needs to be approached with caution.

I agree with your statement that a reductionist theory would be an energizing step in the right direction. I would see this as a transition from Ti to Te, where we are moving from a theory that can be endlessly analyzed and organized, to one that can be practically applied in different ways. If Socionics is sufficiently reduced, I think the amount of discussion generated by the theory will decrease, but it will become much more beneficial as a whole. This will probably lead to a shift in the discussions, from inane squabbles over the theory, to finding real applications and examples of use.

I think you are becoming discouraged because you see new possibilities associated with Socionics dry up. I do not forsee an array of new possibilities, but I do see the potential for a change, like I described, that could move Socionics into a new direction. Eventually, neuroscience and other factors can be incorporated to round out the theory and create a solid factual basis.

Rick said...

Brian,

I agree with you 100%, and that is exactly the way I see it, too. I am not discouraged by socionics itself, but by unstoppable tendencies in the community -- the prospect that less healthy individuals will end up being its most vigorous proponents, and the rest of us will have to foot the bill.

This blog will continue from here on in a different vein, discussing social and psychological phenomena in general and taking a look at scientific findings that I find intriguing. People can return to my earlier posts to learn about socionics and its categories, and I am happy if they do, but from here on out I will be talking about things on the cusp of my own interests.

Liutauras said...

I agree with the opinion that the socionics has to be treated with caution. It offers an interesting and insightful way to interpret the personality and interpersonal relation, but it must not become the main criterion to treat these phenomena. It has been rightfully pointed out that one important factor of animosity (or at least alienation, I would say) is a tendency in socionics to discriminate those who don't match your type ideally. However, it may be corrected if you loosen this assumption that the best and most productive relations may be expected only if they are of dual, activation or other positive relation type. The socionic emphasis on the very type tends to neglect such essential traits of humans as prudence, intelligence, generosity etc. The latter traits, however, have significant moral charge and for that reason can't be accounted properly by the mathematical language of socionics. And this is a weak point of socionics, since this anti-ethical theory can gives us some understanding of logical structures of personal relations, but on the same time such view is too narrow and superficial in comparison of treatment of human relations in a holistic way. So if the interpretation of practical personal relations is based by the socionics (and exactly this happens in forums of socionics), there is less room for friendship, spirit of cooperation ant other similar feelings that would counterbalance alienation and animosity that naturally follow from conceptually artificial understanding of human relations that is prevailing in this sphere.

Personally, when participating in discussion on socionics, I always have a strangely bad and dissapointing feeling that such discussion is too abstract and 'lifeless'. Though the very topic is interesting for all participants, the dialogue usually is weak and not as intensive as one would wish.

This evaluation is from ethical perspective. On the academic terms, I would agree that despite it's mathematic character socionics lacks proper empirical proof in scientific manner and has been too much isolated from the mainstream of psychology. If there are no sufficient efforts to integrate socionics into psychology, there will be no further prospects for the socionics as scientific theory.

On the other hand, I would more positive about the increasing number of socionic forums in English (though to be honest I have not participated in any of them). I would call it not fragmentation but pluralism and its evolution is natural when the popularity of socionics increases.

Speaking about the socionics in Lithuania, I would be not so positive as it is mentioned in the text. Unfortunately there is only one acting forum (but with low level of membership and divided by internal strifes), and there has been no solid literature on socionics in Lithuanian so far. Therefore, older people read about socionics in Russian, and younger (as me) mostly in English. Despite that there are quite many people that know socionics from the times when Augusta had been giving public lectures. However, they do not co-operate and at present show little interest in that. It might be that Lithuanian socionics have first experienced both the moments of faith (Augusta's lectures though restricted by local Soviet regime were massively popular) and animosity (firstly from the stratum of psychologists that even nowadays in universities are telling to the students in the first course about the 'totally mistaken' theory of socionics; and later, internally) and have sill not recovered from that.

Rick said...

Well said, Liutauras.

Recently I have had more meetings where we talk about socionics, but I, or we, have given up the idea that we are getting together "to discuss socionics." Rather, we have talked about what interests us, and socionics comes up repeatedly in some way or another, but is not the explicit purpose of the conversation. I have found these conversations more stimulating and spontaneous.

I agree with you that the 'fragmentation' I discuss is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it was the lack of fragmentation in the English community compared to the Russian one that made it unique. Everyone was in one place, and it felt like there was more energy being focused, and that energy could direct the entire community in the right direction, as opposed to only a branch of the community. Now one can no longer find all the brightest people in a single location, and it disappoints me.

Reuben McNew said...

The reason that I sold the16types.info was because the community there had outgrown my person capacity to keep up with them as an admin. They were use to me making small changes to the forum now and again, that when I found myself unable on account of life situations they began to become upset with changes that were not being made. This is besides the fact that some of the changes they wanted were totally impractical for vbulletin were they were practical for the old phpbb forum before it switched.It got to the point to where enough users were disgruntled that I would have had to ban half of them to stop their complaints. I also found that the community that had developed did not seem to share my love of exploration and in many cases developed a bias or prejudice against some applications of socionics that I was presenting, similar to some of thew same bias and prejudice that I had encountered and attempted to remove from the forum previous to that that were directed towards some users. With all that said, I sold the forum and started a new one with the hopes of creating a community that would be free, open, and shares many of the same common ideals that I had. The16types.info was not really doing that for me.

In all I am glad I did sell the forum, although I am royally disappointed at the behavior of some of the new members and many of the things that the new administration did towards the end were totally uncalled for as far as decency goes. Whether the forum is able to survive under the new administration, I do not know. Although, things do seem to be going well now for the16types.info and I wish the forum and the new administration ssuccess.

A goal I do have for metasocion.com is to fill the niches that could not be filled in the other forum. The forum is there for exploratory research and to discuss intellectual topics and to make metaphysical comparisons. Some alchemy is talked about on the website, as well as Jungian philosophy and also some new age materials. Now through some otherwise reputable attention getting means there is a healthy community growing there. Thanks for the mention.

Reuben McNew said...

And I should also mention that it can be proven 100% without a doubt that socionics is exactly the western zodiac using the tattwas and I still think augusta borrowed probably 95% of her information from alchemical derived theories and obscure occult sources, although I can not really prove exactly what sources beyond the emphasis that I don't really see her creating all this on her own without lots of help. I think she got the resources for the various socionic relationships from some cosmological or mystic groups that were keeping secrets for a long time. That is just my speculation, though.

Rick said...

Reuben,

>>I sold the forum and started a new one with the hopes of creating a community that would be free, open, and shares many of the same common ideals that I had. The16types.info was not really doing that for me.

Yes, fragmentation occurs through people seeking their own self-interest (in this case, sharing your interests/ideals). I'm not saying it's bad -- I just find some aspects of it disappointing.

As to the correlations you see, I really know nothing of the subject. To suppose that, I think one needs to assume some kind of conspiracy among the founders of socionics, which I think is nearly impossible. Augusta was the kind of person who broadcasted her insights far and wide, and I think she would have run around saying, "look, these ancient texts are saying the same thing I've been saying!" She was not shy at all about discussing possible connections between socionics and chakras, though her ideas were purely speculative. The burden of proof is on you to prove that the connections you claim exist, not on me (or others) to prove that they do not. If you indeed manage to prove them, then that's great. I have no intellectual attachment to the "null hypothesis."

Sam said...

I understand Rick's concerns about the direction the socionics community is heading. Interpersonal dissatisfaction is of course one reason for the forum divides, not to mention (as Niffweed points out correctly) real ideological disputes. I would argue that Wikisocion and socionics.us have at least partly made this fragmentation possible. Now that there are permanent information sources being developed, people no longer have to be dependent on learning socionics at the16types. For me, this was the primary source of getting socionics "feedback" when I was first learning socionics. The discussions at the16types are definitely helpful in certain ways that static sites cannot offer, but people become dissatisfied with the inability to ever come to a reasonable consensus. This is one of the main personal reasons I have stopped participating in the forums.

The only long-term solution to this is to create real, in-person socionics communities. The seeds are being sown as we speak. Every time someone tells a friend about socionics, the possibility of real-life socionics clubs, etc. becomes more real.

This is basically how I see the future of socionics. While the online community is apparently all that exists, much more is being done in the background to make it obsolete. Not books being published, but things such as the tens of thousands of wikisocion page views!

Last, the fragmentation, in the process of making socionics discussion harder, is "cutting back on Ti", so to speak, and because there is no Te to balance it out. I appreciate your efforts to bring some science into socionics, although for this we will just have to wait until some actual scientists take interest (or become them ourselves!). I may not be able to help with this myself, because I have since found something else that has improved my life far more than socionics ever could: namely Buddhism. However I am confident that anyone of reasonable intelligence will be able to recognize what's what in socionics, so long as we make our ideas accessible and public. What we are doing now is laying the ground work.

-thehotelambush

P.S. Writing your book can't hurt! ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about this community- but your comments illustrate trends I've witnessed in other communities.

The fragmentation and personal striving, the notion that people can be web-entrepreneurs, and the inherent lack of productivity when people don't meet in person... all of these seem to have something to do with cultural trends that hijack some of our personalities- or leave others of us in the dust.

The thoughtful dialogue that often produces profound advancement of thought doesn't usually get the most hits...

We are just figuring it all out... thanks for sharing!