A brief grumble about homogeneity

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While meditating on the idea of standards and how they make our worlds work (prepare to be inundated in coming months by more on this topic), something occurred to me. It occurred that while similar knowledge makes groups cohesive and feel like clubs, it also serves to make them homogeneous and boring. Maybe I don't know everything other F/LOSS geeks know, maybe I'm not actually very good at partitioning hard drives myself, but I know a hell of a lot about intermodal transport. Different skill and knowledge sets are important. I know how to mould plastic of many different kinds. I know what the numbers on the bottoms of bottles mean. I know about wood working and welding. Who gives a damn if I need a step by step guide to partitioning a hard drive? There are loads of other people who know how to do that, and when I need to, I can ask them for help. Having different skills gives both of us value. And when they need something built, or want to know what the difference between a raglan and an inset sleeve are, or how to work a vacuum forming machine, I can help right back. Homogeneity bites. The point of having other people around is learning from them. Maybe my credibility gets a little shot when I don't know something that others perceive to be basic, but hell, there's loads of stuff I consider basic that they don't even approach knowing. Of course variety is the spice of life. It's a cliche for a reason.

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