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After reading a disturbing post at Parfumo (here), the thoughts coagulated in my mind. When things only make sense viewed askew, and people respond with an itchy trigger finger, then change will come, and it will come like a smiling tyrant. My mental gears spun into a frenzy. Just how do these things happen? How do communities die?

  1. When the rulers break their promises, either implicit or explicit, the foundation of the community is shaken. People do not suffer breaches of trust well. When someone promises A and then for unknown reasons spins on a dime to promise B instead, you are shaken. Brokenness invades and anger consumes.
  2. When the rulers develop insider cliques, and treat their clique-mates better than others, then one community becomes two: the rulers and friends, and the rest. This is a de-facto oligarchy with second-class citizens. Not many people like living under oligarchies, nor being second-class citizens, as the drive for equality before the law is strong in the human soul.
  3. When the rulers become illogical, irrational, and demonstrate behavior that defies rational comprehension. Think of Caligula appointing his horse to the Roman Senate.
  4. When contributions resulting from effort and talent are equated to dreck spewed out by shills (and the latter is even allowed), the rulers disvalue the contributions of those they cannot control and do not owe.
  5. When a community begins to be run by personality instead of by principle, then the social environment is no longer constant and may not even be predictable; for trust to sprout, the social environment must be predictable. A community without trust is not a community for long.

These observations may not have much to do with fragrance, but they do relate to how those in the fragrance community (at least one small section of it) treat one another. And online, where words often do not capture everything that a face-to-face encounter does, trust is especially fragile. Many communities have crashed and burned because they were not capable of learning this. Looking out across the internet, behold the vast collection of dead communities, like a graveyard of sailing vessels in silent warning to those who would sail further.

In the end, I wonder how serious Parfumo really is. Do they really want to be around for ten, twenty years? Do they want to build something that will last? Or are they content to build a cathedral out of ticky-tacky and find themselves surprised when the first rain turns it into debris?