This conversation took place last year. Context is that my opinions re SoCal poetry and how it works are a bit blinkered. Turning the floor over to the commenter I'll keep anonymous:
Believe it or not, most of us do not see the poetry community that way [responding to a statement I made referring to it as a playground with mean boys and girls]. We aren't constantly thinking about who's cool and who's not, who's part of the in crowd and not, who to suck up to and who to blow off. Instead, we are mature adults participating in an artistic community.
I'm not going to deny that we make judgements about other people, that's just human nature. Those judgements generally fall into two categories -- those we like as people, and those we respect as artists. Sometimes the groups overlap, sometimes not. But to think that we divide everyone into two groups -- the cool people and the others - is, in your own words, "a lack of nuanced thinking." And to think that there's any sort of "in group" which is uniform in its judgements, is absurd.