There a lot of fun “statically improbable phrases” in this paper (sadly hidden behind a garden wall) about religiosity in brand communities. It’s about the Newton community, which like the Lisp community, can be described as “operating in a threatened state.”
Like all communities these brand communities have rituals, including stories. And when the community is threatened then you can look for these kinds of stories: “(1) tails of persecution, (2) tales of faith rewarded, (3) survival tales, (4) tales of miraculous recovery, and (5) tales of resurrection.”
I particularly liked the idea of “highly visible stigma symbol.” The damn back lite apple on my powerbook for example. Until recently I could use the word closure as a stigma symbol but it apparently it’s making a comeback. The stigma symbol attracts persecution. Communities have what salesmen call objection handling techniques for responding to those. In this paper we get the wonderful phrase “taming the facts.”
Of course Brand communities have product at their center, often technological products. Technology is magical. That leads to the wonderful phrase “technopagan magic.” The best heroic fantasy tales deal with persecution with a burst of tecnopagan magic.
But the real reason I needed to write this posting was this marvalous signature line used by somebody in the Newton community:
“Would the last person to leave the platform, please turn off the backlight.”