We are all people interacting with other people--people it appears with fairly common interests. The body is small…fewer than 30 people on a regular basis
I think we are cyber people and not real people. At meetings real people appear. Then they disperse and they try to become cyber people again but they no longer can be. That they have met inhibits their cyber aspect and there is a tendency for them to be nicer to each other and thus more insincere in the manner of normal acquaintances.
If, for example, Bernie said something which I disagreed with I wouldn't expect anybody who had spent the previous evening in his company to back me up even if they agreed with me. Objectivity begins to slip away in the service of the group's solidarity and that is perfectly understandable.
If a judge or a juror discovers during a case that they know somebody involved they will be replaced.
It ends up with a situation where disagreement with any member of the clique tends to become disagreement with the whole clique and whatever it does for the clique it is a loss to A2K.
Once people have met there seems no reason for them to interact any longer on A2K. Their relationship has become personal and anything they have to say to each other should be on the phone or in their face-to-face contacts.
Assurances that cliquishness was not a factor in your NY group are insufficient to demonstrate that such was the case. I might add that I have nothing against cliquishness. I have been a member of many cliques and I understand the social dynamics involved. In the last analysis cliques are bullying strategies. Political parties are essentially cliques.
Proust describes his membership of a family clique in which he doted on his grandmother. After a period in the military he returned to discover that she was a silly old bat.
Our membership of cliques distorts our perception of others. What you call "negative aspects" I see as positive in that there is a certain honesty in them. I don't see courtesy and respect being much use in objective discussion. They are strategies. And there can be aggressive aspects to them.
I accused Auberon Waugh of being too gentle towards feminists because of how many females he was in daily contact with who he didn't wish to annoy and his situation was mirrored all across media and gave feminism an easy pass when, in actual fact, it is ridiculous and will wreck our system eventually. When it is wrecked women will be the biggest losers. The feminist clique, and its lickspittals and pussy whipped lackeys, gang up on me and declare me a misogynist and it is them who are working against ordinary women's real interests so that a couple of thousand harpies can bust glass ceilings and get rich. They even believe that Fox News is conservative. Discussing feminism dispassionately is now impossible. The clique just shouts "MISOGYNIST!!" and that's the end of it.
The DSK case was an utter disgrace.