I used to play World of Warcraft a lot, and my character lived in the Horde realm (therefore I was part of the Orc Community). I generally preferred to hang out at the Orc City (Origrammar) as to me that's where I belonged. That is until I began to think about online communities in general, in that why didn't I spend time at the Undercity - hanging out with the Undead? What about Thunderbluff where the tauren hung out?
Each type of character is assigned a city of origin and yet this is how I played the game. I logged in last night and went for a walk, and also noticed others following suite.
To me this strikes at the heart of something in which I've been wondering when it comes to Microsoft and it's respective competitors. How is it there is amount of people online right now telling the world why they hate Microsoft. That or why there is a degree of population also telling the world why Microsoft is better.
Answer, we belong to tribes, and at times we get stuck in just the one tribe. This is fine, but how did we arrive at such a point in time where some at times have ongoing tribe warfare mentality?
To illustrate, I at times feel like a Horde character walking into the Alliance realm. I need to at times pick my path carefully and above all keep a low profile as much as I can. Yet, every now and then I come across an alliance character and he/she will ponder - "do I pick a fight, should I pick a fight? should I try and extend the hand of peace?"
The ultimate sad part of all is why should someone from one community feel the need to apologise or defend his/her reasons for being apart of it? If you're a pro-Microsoft fanboi and wish to hang out in the Linux, Adobe, Apple, Mozilla community why must you defend your position?
A community isn't a gang, you can belong to many communities - i do. If you are looking to project your belief onto others and should they reject it, class them as ignorant or something else, then let me be the first to state out loud - you're a fool.
We say this a lot at Microsoft, this is not a zero sum game, and we mean it. Yes, Silverlight will exist and so will Flash, but in the end if we triple our install base and have majority of the world using Silverlight for whatever reason, Flash will also be used as it is today.
As you see, people have the ability of choosing and we or any other person can't force anyone to do anything they simply choose not to do. That is the ultimate power of the Internet, freedom to choose.
If you want to evangelise your chosen community do so, you have that choice but remember not to kick over the beehive to get honey, as eventually you'll get stung.
Ever read a book called Jennifer Government? it's so fictitious and yet so realistic sometimes it's scary.