I'm keenly aware of how fractured, overlapping, and confusing the current morass of online prop communities is, so I was as loath as anybody to add to the problem by creating yet another. However, as this hobby has come to mean more to me, it has increasingly bothered me that much of the online Trek prop world hasn't seemed to embody my values or priorities.
The thing is: I like Star Trek props first and foremost because I actually care about Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry's positive vision of what a better future for humanity could look like, where we transcend our petty human selfishness and work toward unity and cooperation, has inspired me since I was very young. My desire to create objects that look like they're from that universe is all about about my desire to fool myself (however fleetingly and implausibly) into thinking that such a universe could exist—to reach in and somehow touch my childhood fantasies, as if they could be real.
So I believe that a community of any Star Trek fans, focused on props or otherwise, should actually organize itself around the values of Star Trek itself: namely, openness, sharing, collaboration, reconciliation rather than conflict, a recognition of the human desire to improve ourselves through acts of creation and self-challenge, and the aspiration that "the acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives; we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." After all, if we can't embrace those ideas ourselves, what's the point of caring about Star Trek in the first place?
I don't care about getting internet-famous, making money, impressing people, or even amassing an collection of props for myself (especially ones I didn't make). I just want to my passion with and to teach and learn from the tiny handful of other people around the world who share this quirky hobby. I want to team up with other people to build things that answer these longings, to share the results, to help other people do the same. And I want the satisfaction of knowing I can use my own two hands to build and touch a little part of that beautiful vision of the future.