Think of a topic that you deeply care about. That you advocate for. Or argue with others who have a different viewpoint.

In my world, maybe it’s Open Education. Or MOOCs. Or cMOOCs (POOCS, SMOOCS DOOCS…) Badges. Textbooks. Learning Analytics.

Maybe your passionate discussions are not quite monkeys tossing excrement, but have you ever pondered what those exchanges look like to someone not quite in that circle?

A bit weird?

GIphy GIF made from some part of a long video
Giphy GIF made from some part of a long video

In a gracious effort to Help Alan Understand Blockchains, the eminent David Kernohan shared a link to Bitcoin advocates engaged in vivid discussion (skip down to the comments).

Why do you even bother responding to people like this? Do you really believe these ppl will change perception of bitcoin? Then that’s bitcoin’s problem, not his. I see you on the comments all the time… do you represent a company affiliated to bitcoin? Then stop wasting your time responding to nobodies…

This is a matter of perspective. Some of us on this planet have ‘revolution’ baked into our genes, most people do not. The founding fathers of America were talking revolution while the folks back home in England couldn’t figure out why. Those folks were simply not interested in the next evolution of freedom, and were happy to toil for those in authority, others were not. Neither group is right or wrong, it is what it is. What frustrates revolutionaries is when the people don’t even recognize tyranny nor care to rid themselves of it. There are few times in history when real revolution is possible, many of us think bitcoin is ushering in one of those times. Time will tell.

If everyone pulled their weight and worked to the best of their ability instead of fighting with each other, we could bring down corrupt banks for good. Call your bank and ask them to explain why they only have enough cash to pay back 3% of all deposits they hold. Back in the day people would hang bankers who couldn’t pay back their deposits, let’s not let it come to that, but if it does then so be it.

We are at war with the banks, let’s hear your f***ing battle cry.

if you think bitcoin/blockchain is *only* a currency then you are one of the idiots he is talking about.

I cannot even make sense of the issues, and this “discussion”, to an outsider, looks a lot like monkeys tossing poop. One can recognize all kinds of discussion patterns- patronizing, stretched metaphors, bullying, mocking, insulting, and probably many more.

Yet, I can tell this poop matters.

I found it oddly instructive to peek into a group’s discussions that I have no stake or real understanding in.

And I wonder then, what it looks like when I am in middle of my own discussions.


Apologies in advance to all real monkeys- your behavior is likely way more explainable than ours.

Top / Featured Image: I literally performed a Google Image Search, with the limit of licensed for reuse, on monkeys throwing s***. Hey, sometimes go literal. The results were, while curious, sadly disappointing. I make one small change, and set the search for “no restrictions” and the results are dramatically… better.

I loved the cartoon of the monkeys tossing poo at the computer. Is it copyrighted by the creator? Who knows, the link is from a Pinterest board which nabbed it from a discussion forum I probably do not want to explore. When I do reverse image search for it on Google, surely there is an original out there, mostly what I find are more pinterest boards. The closest was a blog post of someone’s “adventures” in New York City, who claimed the photo was from a board some person was wearing.

This presents a curious situation. A copyright purist says I have no right to use the image. But there it is. What if there was a world where the default was flipped? That a piece of media was open for reuse UNLESS a copyright was assigned to it?

Dream on, hippy, dream on.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Peter lives nothing more than to fall into deep discussions of Shakespeare code, and it is passionately important to those he nerdifies with; ditto sports and politics wonks. I have side conversations in art with select people in our own dialect. And there is a time to Venn diagram up with outside people and a time to disappear down your own personal rabbit hole. Thus it had always been; that doesn’t make it monkey poo.

    1. In my non organized writing, I did leave out a part I had in mind while pondering the post- that its normal, makes sense, that groups get this focus. That’s the whole value of finding others that share your passion.

      So I did not mean to call all passionate interest groups monkey poo throwers, though it reads that way. Its more that groups outside of our own affinity can look– well foreign. Not a judgement. Just the one I peeked at were tossing poo. It’s more the value of observing a different group, and thinking about what it feels like being on the outside looking in as opposed to being on the inside looking in.

      Poo on me.

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