The dark forests grow because they provide psychological and reputational cover. They allow us to be ourselves because we know who else is there. Compared to the free market communication style of the mass channels -- with their high risks, high rewards, and limited moderation -- dark forest spaces are more Scandinavian in their values and the social and emotional security they provide. They cap the downsides of looking bad and the upsides of our best jokes by virtue of a contained audience.
I like to think it’s always been less about risk mitigation or “looking bad” and more about all of us understanding where certain content we share is the most contextually relevant.