“I think a lot about this thread because it reminds me of a lot of interactions I see online, where someone who thinks they know more than others about a topic falls into gatekeeper mode.
Look, I get it, there are people who think they are experts on given topics, who know everything. I think, for example, I know a bit about digital publishing because of the fact that I’ve been doing it for quite a long time. But while I have strong opinions on walled gardens such as Substack, I ultimately don’t want to push people away from something that’s working for them—rather, I just want to highlight, hey, you have options.
I think that when it comes down to it, the gatekeeper approach has its limits for cultural growth. It is designed to discourage others from showing an interest in new topics, rather than finding ways to introduce them to new topics. If you walk into a situation where you’re relatively green on a given topic, God help you.
I think some of this is out of protection—we want to ensure that our little corner of the cultural world is safe in some way. But at the same time, it naturally leaves others out.
If you’re an expert on something and your approach is to demean or otherwise criticize others who think differently on an issue than you do, you are doing more damage to your reputation than you probably even realize.
Open up the tent. Give yourself—and your hobby or career—some room to breathe.”-Ernie Smith, “Open-Tent Policy.” Mid-Range. June 7, 2022