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What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
DustWolf
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Post: #1
What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Hello everybody,

We thought that it might be useful to have a thread talking about these subjects, so here's my attempt.


In short: The concept of therian "packs" and the "alpha/beta/omega model", is a popular game that young teenagers like to play on the Internet, that has no relationship to therianthropy.


The reason why this game is so popular is, we think because humans of this age start to explore where they belong in society, which is accomplished by finding a group to belong to. While many people find groups outside of this (for example I don't know football clubs and gaming guilds), those who are already fond of wolves may find their alternative: "packs". Because "wolves" --> "packs"?

The "alpha/beta/omega model" is probably popular because people like to feel powerful and therefore use this model as a justification for wielding power over others. We all had people we looked up to when we were teens, and in some cases it was people we knew personally. A taller friend, a better sportsman, whatever. These are the people that end up in these "Alpha" roles, while the rest of us enable them by conceding to "Beta" or not caring and just going with "Omega".


And yes, while wolves do in fact live in packs and have a hierarchy to speak of, it's really not what these "packs" and "alphas" are. Because as I explained, the majority of "packs" out there exist because of very human needs for belonging and control, the rules of the game have become very different from how actual wolf packs and actual wolf hierarchies work.


So does this at all relate to therianthropy?

Well, a few very rare wolf therians do in fact also experience the need for hierarchy of their theriotype. For some of us, this "pack" is really the love we feel for people we see as family (for example, many of us see this whole community, Therian Guide as our "pack"). And for some of us, this hierarchy is exactly the fluid and somewhat age-dependant confidence dynamic seen in wild wolves.

For those of us, finding out about this phenomena of "packs", was that moment when we felt, that there might be people in the world, who truly understand how we feel. But perhaps we were wrong. Most "therian packs" out there are just people acting out for their human needs with wolf words.


But of course, don't take my word for it. There is ample discussion from many different people on our forum, on this exact subject. Go check them out (you may have to register first):

LP,
Dusty

Most problems are man-made.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-08-12 12:26 by DustWolf.)
2017-08-12 11:57
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StarDolphin
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Post: #2
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Very nice doost! Im not sure where this started but i guess the alpha beta stuff came from misinterpretation of researchers ? No surprise because i feel at times in research humans interpret the environment or others behaviour through their own lens, and i see it happen often in cetacean research. That in turn possibly became popular any , the alpha beta stuff, and i guess people adopted it because they think its accurate wolf behaviour, and maybe also the tendency of getting it in their heads in terms of bossing people around keeps itgoing and eventually gets out of proportion...

Even if its relatively drama free the pack hiarchy aplha beta is outdated inaccurate finding of researchers, i didnt know that til i came here lol.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-08-12 14:29 by StarDolphin.)
2017-08-12 14:29
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #3
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Heh. Error in the research is more likely. If you're looking for an area of research that has been plagued by human bias, just look at animal ethnology. David Mech was sold on alphas and packs for a long time, but to his great credit, he knew "when to fold 'em." He claims a good bit of culpability for the prevalence of the error. Of course, now, people mistake him for completely dropping the idea of social hierarchy is wolf groups (and he didn't).

DustWolf quote: "For some of us, this "pack" is really the love we feel for people we see as family (for example, many of us see this whole community, "

That's exactly it.

We call ourselves a "pack" (a lot of the therians I've visited do). More often, we call our larger group our "tribe" and more often than not, I'll call our immediate family a "House" or a "WereHouse". As a sociologist, I'm more likely to call any stable collection of Weres a "constellation". I like the variety of groups that I see.

Another thing I've run into is that there are a number of Weres out there that do not like their nonhuman identification and they're very urgent in their opposition to therians thinking of themselves as anything but human. I run into a lot of "there's very little difference between us and everyone else." So they tend to discourage anything that might sound like we're identifying "too much" with our theriotypes.

Still, "pack" is fairly common offline. The primary objection I've run into is that "pack" is seen to refer to wolves and there are a lot of theriotypes that aren't canine - and I recon that makes sense. Even some canines (theriotypes) form less solid bonds than us "wolves", in fact, that's one way I can tell the difference between other canid theriotypes.

But the Internet allows for sorta shoving social hierarchy to the side. Offline, not so much. My experience is that therians don't vote on leaders but they are there and they tend to form naturally. People just sort of tend to cluster around a particular person. My usual assumption is that, if a person calls themselves an alpha (in the sociometric sense of the word), they most likely aren't.
2017-08-12 18:31
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