Just a quickie.
"Look for what is missing" is #4 in Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, which I've referenced here before.
The Mittani wrote an interesting piece Monday at Ten Ton Hammer that talks about what he calls "EVE born" players versus "community born" players. Go give it a read. It's quite short. As you read it, though... look for what is missing. Go ahead. I'll wait.
The piece is kind of a love letter to the external communities that play EVE, but set up corps within EVE and within those corps retain their external identities. It then goes on to describe all of the benefits of playing the game in this way while subtly denigrating those that do not.
But did you find what was missing? It's kind of subtle, and tied into the language and phrases used. In the first paragraph, Mittens talks about the "EVE community", then immediately flips the word on its head and after that, almost every time he uses the word "community", he says or means "external community." External, in this case meaning "situated or being outside something, or acting or coming from outside". What are these communities outside of? EVE itself, of course. It's a subtle irony: what's missing is the connection of these communities to EVE itself.
When Mord Fiddle was blogging about EVE, one of the best posts he ever wrote -- maybe the best -- was a brilliant piece he called Fever Dream. It describes a hypothetical conversation between Mittens and Hilmar Pétursson. At the end of the hypothetical conversation, Hilmar asks Mittens what the Goons would do without EVE Online. The hypothetical Mittens replies "There are other worlds than thine. If New Eden falls, I will lead my minions forth and play at World of Tanks."
It was intended to be humorous, but there's a grain of truth to it, too.
Viewed from this perspective, Goons don't have to care of EVE Online succeeds or fails, and Mittens's post in praise of the virtues of the "community born" kind of dances around this without touching it. Don't get me wrong: I'm sure most of them do care if EVE Online succeeds or fails, but by describing them as "community born", this caring is greatly deemphasized. On the other hand, the subtly denigrated "EVE born" -- who, remember, outnumber the "community born" by ten-fold or more! -- are just as subtly accused of not being part of the "community" when they in fact are the ones that make it up! Cute, right? It's a kind of verbal judo.
As I said it's a very subtle distinction, but an interesting one.