Let me tell you a story. At the end my personal "dark ages" (circa 2005-2009) when I wrote about peak oil for The Oil Drum and ASPO-USA, I had a running dispute with the leaders of ASPO-USA. I wanted them to put more of their limited budget toward the organization's website, where my weekly column appeared, in order to widen our reach. (I also wanted them to pay me more )
But that's not what those who led ASPO-USA wanted to do. Instead, each year they put as much as 80-90% of their precious budget into paying for a physical meet-up (the annual conference) in some host city. One year it was in Boston, one year it was in Houston, one year it was in Denver, and so on. The conference served one all-important overriding purpose—the peak oil faithful could all get together in some hotel to meet face to face and talk to each other.
Peak oil folks could, for a few days each year, be literally surrounded by other people who believed what they believed, or had an interest (often financial) in pessimistic scenarios. Faces and bodies could be attached to often faceless and disembodied people one had only heard of, or had known only on the internet.
Back then, before I better understood how humans work, I used to think this conference thing was a total waste of time and money. Now, in my more enlightened older age, I understand that holding the conference was indeed the most important thing the organization could do because sponsoring the conference went the furthest toward meeting the very real social needs of "peakists" taken as a small, marginalized social group.