Every passion is the same because people are all the same.

Alan Diggs
3 min readJun 1, 2024


ew, you use ubuntu?

Pardon the cynicism. I’ve dived into a few completely different hobbies/interests over the past six years, investing myself into learning the ins and outs of everything from filesystems and operating systems to cameras and lenses. There is passion in every area of interest, and in all of that passion, the same human condition.

If you look back into my writing archive, you’ll probably notice I’ve spent a bit of time talking about Linux and nerding out about various related niches while also making a point to highlight my frustration with certain behaviors of the highly passionate but often misguided members of the community that contribute to a toxic experience. I’m not innocent, I’ve been on the giving end of that toxicity and it took quite a bit of self reflection to align myself properly, and is still a work-in-progress.

It’s not unusual to find that areas of passion for anyone can also become areas of contention for those same people. We are passionate because we believe, and vice-versa. It’s personal to us because we’ve invested so much of ourselves into our hobbies or interests and that quickly turns into either a reason to agree or a reason to disagree. There’s nothing with quite the same power to be both binding and divisive as passion. As my interests have shifted from reformatting the same computer a thousand times towards creating art from behind a lens, I’ve realized that the same personalities exist, both positive and negative, in both worlds.

The camera brand you choose, the distribution of Linux you use. The browser you pick, the music app you’re subscribed to. We’ve collectively decided that the best use for our uniquely omnipotent ability to communicate in any space at any time is to voice our displeasure in the choices of others as if their preferences were offenses. It’s shockingly easy to do. The lack of personal connection with the people we engage with virtually shields us (this is no new concept) from the consequences of our vitriolic actions. It fuels itself, though. Fire to the fire, it grows as we fear our own choices were wrong. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, something something dark side.

The only refuge I’ve found from these black holes of frustration and spite is the ability to disconnect. Being part of a community is great, but recognizing when something that initially feels like a community is actually just a collection of preference-pushers, you’ve got to step back or at the very least learn to not care at all when they rise to their nonsensical podiums to shout into the void. I’ve learned much from this.

I’ve been living peacefully lately, I must say. I don’t get notifications from any app outside of direct messages via text or email. My phone is in some form of do-not-disturb or Focus mode half of the day, limiting the people who can contact me regardless of if they know me personally or not. On top of all that, every call from outside of my contacts is immediately sent to voicemail. The silence is so incredibly enlightening. I couldn’t care less about the activities of the people behind the pixels because I’ve removed their ability to draw me from the presence of the real world around me. It’s grounded me.

That disconnect makes it so much easier to see when people become abusive online. It’s so much harder to see when you’re completely enveloped in that environment. It’s a slow, slow boil. (by the way, frogs absolutely would not be gently boiled without realizing and that’s a dumb analogy. Frogs are incredibly sensitive to changes in climate and are literally used as indicators of ecosystem health by biologists around the world. Whoever made that analogy has gotta rework it.)