The Crushing Tree

Posted Saturday, October 29, 2022 by Sri.Tagged TROPE
EDIT STATUS:new

The Crushing Tree a colorful expression I coined during middle school. It means to disempower exploitative people in a civil manner by offering an alternative model. The complete anecdote is in The Tribe (Context).

Candidates for the Crushing Tree are people who interpose themselves as gatekeepers to a resource as a way of maintaining social status and power with respect to their peers. In the context of a 1980s middle school computer lab, this meant access to the latest pirated software (sourced through some means not available to most kids) and giving copies of it to their friends and others they deemed "worthy". Another version of this is the "technical priesthood" where access to computer resources are managed by an elite group of administrators who misuse their authority to benefit themselves and their beliefs. The general term of art these days is gatekeeping.

It rankled me that these people were taking stolen software and using it to curry favor with other kids who just wanted to use computers. This being the 1980s, computers were mysterious and powerful and it was very difficult to get any information about them (I was in Taiwan at the time, and there was no global Internet access because computer networking was not yet a thing). So instead, we decided that we wanted to be an open source of information and freely share what we knew and give what we had. The three of us were learning the guts of our computer systems. If someone wanted to thank us, we would tell them to pay it forward by sharing with their friends what they learned from us.