June 2019

Popularity is not an argument

Popularity as an argument is probably one of the biggest insanity that exists in this world. It seems that most people I meet are only able to make "arguments" based on popularity. One of their first responses in an argument is often something like this:

"You are not popular, so you must be bad"
"You are not popular, because the language you use is wrong and if you would use nicer language, then you would be more popular"
"You are not successful, because you are not popular"
"If you were really that good at what you do, then why are you not popular"
"Look I'm more popular so I'm right"
"What you do is not popular, so you are wrong"
"What you use is not popular, so I will not use it"
and so on

I put "argument" in quotes, because obviously popularity is not an argument and that is because popularity is arbitrary. Anyone can decide for any reason or without a reason at all what he will like or not, there is no inherent logic behind that. Most people have probably experienced this when they were still children in school or so, where some people or some things were popular and others were not, but now where they are adults and look back they can see how it was all meaningless nonsense and they would be embarrassed if they still would behave that way now. Sadly this is still the case, but they don't know about it or don't want to know. Another example that should open everyone's eyes is to look back what was popular in the past and imagine someone today would look and behave like someone in the 60s,70s,80s, 90s or whatever time in the past. If people from today would see such a person they would all point to that person and laugh and say how uncool and embarrassing that is, well and they are right and wrong at the same time. Wrong in so far, that they behave as stupid as people before them, the only difference is that time did not have enough time yet to expose them for the idiots they are.

Let's get back to the popularity "argument". It should be clear now that popularity is not an argument, since it is arbitrary and will not stand the test of time. A real argument however will stand the test of time, since something that is true, will always be true, where it is totally irrelevant how many people find it popular or not. Real arguments are based on logic which is independent from time, place and people who like it. Sadly most people think arguments work exactly the other way around, where the only thing that matters is to get as many people to agree with it as possible and the most agreed upon thing then is the truth. They cannot see that such a version of "truth" changes all the time, since popularity arbitrarily changes all the time and therefore such a truth cannot be the truth, since the truth would stay the truth all the time.

What fascinates me the most is, that I can explain it as often and long as I want and the majority of people will never understand it. It does not matter how many arguments I bring and how good they are, the reply from the majority of seemingly brain-dead people is always like:
"Oh if what you are saying would be true, then it would be popular and since it is not popular, you are wrong"

After that they would often tell you what you need to do to become popular to then be right. They tell you things like:
"Oh you must be more positive then you will be more popular" -Positive and negative are subjective things, so it is impossible to logically follow such an advice. Illogically it is pretty easy to follow, they just want you to not agree to anything.
"What you say is correct, but the problem is how you say it" -That is also nonsense, since what matter is always what is said, not how it is said. A person that cares how something is said is basically begging to be cheated.
"You need to be nicer to people" -That is also begging to be cheated and lied to. You are either already nice to people and if not, you would need to lie to them, since you cannot arbitrarily control your emotions and tastes.
"You need to be punished" -If everything fails, people just try to punish you, by ostracizing you from their group or from being "popular", this also cannot work, because people who will be punished with this did not care about popularity to begin with.

The best argument against popularity probably comes from politics, where appealing to popularity is called populism and populism in politics is basically synonymous with being corrupt, since being a populist is seen as inherently wrong. Populism/Popularity comes from the latin "populus", which means the masses of the population or the mob. The problem a highly skilled politician now has, that he has to do the right thing and make arguments, but those things are often not popular, since the mob cannot understand arguments or what is right, so a politician may be forced to do the wrong thing and be corrupt, just to be popular and to be able to do anything, since we live under mob rule.

So appealing to popularity is not even not an argument it may even be inherently wrong, since it is basically mob rule or appealing to the non intelligent masses, for which you need to be inherently corrupt. I mean look above at my examples what people tell you to become more popular, it basically all boils down to that they want you to lie more, for which you of course need to be corrupt.

Sure there exist things that are good and popular, so bringing up such examples does not prove that popularity is an argument, since there also exist things that are total crap and still are popular. I don't know the exact statistical numbers, but I'm pretty sure that the majority of things that are "popular" are of bad quality or inherently morally/logically wrong in some way. I would even go so far as to say that popularity can even transform good and right things into bad and wrong things, just through the process of populism. Think about it, to make something popular, you need to appeal to the mob and to do that, you need to cheat and lie. The main method to get something really popular is to use marketing and the main method of marketing is to lie.

Sure there are artists that organically reach some degree of popularity in their niche, but a few refuse to become mainstream, because they despise it, probably because they instinctively know that it will make them corrupt and their art would degrade to appeal to the masses. It seems to be a hard decision for many, since most chose to go the popularity route as it seems to offer the most benefits, well not even the most benefits, but almost all the benefits and the only downside is that you lose your integrity.

My conclusion to the popularity problem is, that I think you should try to appeal to the target group that fits you the most. People who try to become popular obviously always try to appeal to the largest group, which is the masses or even as many groups as possible. It seems that a larger audience gives you the biggest return, but this is not true, maybe in form of money, but overall you lose your integrity so overall you may still lose. As an artist or creator your goal is to reach other people and influence them in a positive way or make them that they appreciate you. If you only try to reach a big audience to sell them something and make money, they may just consume your product and then move on. For example some things I did received hundreds, some thousands and some supposedly even millions of clicks, but what I get from that? Sure many people contacted me, appreciated what I did etc, but even after that, what I got from that? From those people also only a small number was influenced by me. In the end appealing to the whole world as an audience did not give me any better results as if I just had hit up some friends and tell them personally about what I did and so on.

Yes I can already hear people telling me after all my arguments "Haha you are just jealous because you are not popular, I'm more popular than you" for such people probably all hope is gone, since they are in delusion as they still think all that matters is popularity, but what really matters is what is left when their popularity is gone, since as said, popularity is arbitrary and temporary.

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Why most open source communities never grow

Have you ever wondered why most open source communities or projects never grow? Well most people of course have not, but I have, which probably already leads us to the main reason: Nobody can see that this problem even exists.

I tried to make some people aware of problems like that in the past, but the main defense was always something like "Well we are open source and not commercial, so we do not have to compete and do marketing or anything, we just do what we do and that's it". However is this really the case? To some degree yes it may be true, you do not have to compete, because failure will not instantly lead to failure of your business, since it does not rely on making money or having success, but in the long run you will fail anyway, the consequences are just not that instant.

In the real business world, people have to do real things, that have real effects, that have real customers, that use your products for real and pay money for it for real, so you can have success for real and that makes you grow for real.

In open source communities or projects you hardly need to do anything for real, you just need people that pretend to be a business and as long as those people exists the project or community exists, even when nothing ever gets done.

So a real world business that does not make profit will fail fast, since there is instant feedback of how successful what you do turns out to be, but in the hobbyist sector, all you need is people engaging in it and it will "survive". Real world businesses need to grow or they will die and same goes for hobby world businesses, even if it is not about money, since if you do not grow your community, it will shrink at some point, since if people do not come to you, all that can happen is that people leave, so sooner or later it will be dead.

Through my observation how most open source communities or projects work is that they are a ripoff of some commercial real world project, so the primary target group for recruiting customers to an open source product is the target group that was already created by a real world commercial company and all the open source ripoff can achieve is to lure existing users of a product away to use the open source version of it, with arguments like that it is free and open source and more moral and stuff. This of course works to some degree in many cases, but in  the long run you will face a big problem, the problem that if this is your only method, there is not much potential for growth, since you do not access new markets, you will always remain a free rider behind some serious business.

So the first problem is, that people cannot see that a problem exists, because they think an open source project does not obey the laws of real world businesses, while in fact it does, as I experienced it myself and people also told me that. I even read legal texts to understand what laws I have to obey and I even read laws that said, if you do something that is similar to something commercial or is normally done commercial, the same laws apply to you. So even in law there is often no difference between a commercial company and a non-commercial one, since almost everything is still the same, only the factor how profit is made is different and often "non-profit" is a code-word for "more-profit" anyway.

The second problem probably is that even if the problem becomes clear, people absolutely refuse to do anything, in some communities I was even banned for the sole reason I was trying to tell people about their problem that they have no growth and will die out sooner or later, if they continue to do nothing. Just mentioning the fact that a problem existed, made some people so angry that they wanted to get rid of me. Imagine in a real world company the boss telling the marketing guy "You work here now for 5 years and never made any new customers, don't you think you should rethink whatever you are doing in your work-time and try something else?" and the useless employee just says "Oh you are so negative, stop insulting me, I'm working very hard and in a few years we will see results, I promise and the most important thing is that we are all nice to each other" Such a scenario hardly ever players out in a real world business, but is very common in the open source or "alternative" communities or businesses.

There is so much insanity going on that hardly anyone ever gets to solve the real problems. Which leads to another big problem, which is that there is not much structure in most open source projects, since there is no hierarchy or any kind of organized effort. So if nobody exists that could do anything, nobody will do anything. One big problem of more freedom is, people are not forced to make real progress, so many people just end up doing whatever they want, regardless if that action is useful or not.

To me it feels like almost every problem here is based on the problem that people refuse to see the problem. Maybe the problem is so big, that they cannot comprehend it and therefore always use psychological defense mechanism, so they do not have to deal with it. One case of such a problem is probably that many people engaging in open source projects are losers in the way, that they dropped out of the real world business, since why would anyone care to work for no money, when he could make lots of money for the same work. The people that do that are either losers, insane or very moral people. The primary group that should contribute to open source projects should be the moral people, since the others cannot really contribute anything meaningful, but I assume the moral idealistic people are the minority here.

So what can a loser do to have success? He can try to be a free rider behind someone else that is successful and copy everything he does. In the short run this can  turn out extremely efficient, since you can profit a lot with very little effort, but in the long run you cannot win, since all you can ever achieve is a small part of where you are stealing from and even if you manage to parasite so much, that your host dies, you still cannot grow larger than him, since your source for growth is totally gone by then. Maybe some cases exists where this worked and the losers just found another one where they can steal from, but in our case this probably does not exist, since in open source projects there is no motivation to make money and most open source projects never get beyond recruiting a small part of the customer base from the company they are leeching from. A good example for that is probably many open source games, that are just a copy of an often very old commercial game and almost all the user base they have are people who played the original game and are very nostalgic about it. However since the original game is abandoned by the company who made it, it cannot grow new customers, so it will die out almost for sure if the game does not manage to market their game to new customers, which is almost impossible, since the new generation of gamers want the new generation of games. Open source games are in many cases bad copies of bad very outdated games, so they are worse on multiple levels, you will not gain new regular customers with such a product with the exception of the very small group of moral people maybe.

As a short resume, most of the reasons are simply, because people deny that the problem exists and hardly anyone ever makes it above that stage, where you actually try to do things and as long as people are in denial it is kind of pointless to discuss anything real with them. Almost everyone I ever met in those communities is in such a stage of denial.

Yes of course there are open source projects or communities that seem to grow very well, but those are pseudo open source projects, as they are subsidized by a big company. What I'm talking about is that most open source projects never grow organically, but in most cases even the commercially subsidized communities never grow, since as soon as the community is in charge, it will most likely die out due to the massive amount of incompetence I already talked about in detail in this article.

In the end I want to mention a real reason why open source projects or communities never grow, which is also very logical and this is the lack of money. Most markets are already so saturated or monopolized, that in order to entice customers away you have to spend millions, sometimes even hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in order to get a chance in that market and even then the chances are high you will just fail with that as well and of course how are private people supposed to raise that much capital? But as I already explained in detail, most people will never get to the stage to realize such real reasons as they prefer to stick to their denial.

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