When I tried to talk to other toki pona speakers for the first time after self IDing as an “advanced” speaker when I joined toki pona spaces, I found that even though I had been speaking toki pona for several months already I was still in fact a beginner who just knew the vocabulary and grammar (not that well, either). I lexicalized everything, I tried to add additional context within a single noun phrase by stacking pi four or five times, I used every nimisin I could get my hands on. While not inherently bad choices right off the bat, they made me miserable when I tried to use tp in contexts that involved other people. so there are a few ways I see toki pona:
personal constructed language: kinda what it was created for, as far as I can tell. this version of toki pona is personal to the person who uses it. they can do whatever they want to it. they use it for their own personal stuff. there’s nothing wrong with this. however if they try to bring those changes out of a personal setting, in the vast majority of cases I’ve seen people haven’t been able to communicate and get frustrated/upset
naturalistic constructed language/living language: toki pona is a living language with many speakers. this version of toki pona is associated with descriptivism. as toki pona is used by its speakers day to day, it changes slightly over time in the way that natural languages do. This is different from people suggesting radical changes to the language to be adopted at large-scale use, especially beginners. There is also a noticeable overlap/gray area between this and the idea of tp as a personal langauge: people can have small bits of nasa in their own personal dialect if they are understood, and that is fine sometimes. There’s a threshold to how much nasa can fit in a nasin. For example, jan Olipija puts en before the first subject when there is more than one subject (jan li lon; en soweli en jan li lon). There’s no line, but there is definitely a gradient where a nasin can diverge so far from the common use that it cannot be easily understood.
philosophical constructed language: this interpretation of toki pona is one that is determined by the philosophy of the language. This includes most types of purism (following pu as closely as possible, for one) and nasins that follow the idea of “pona.” people who use this type of toki pona usually use the philosophy of the language to determine their nasins. this is a very cool genre nasin but there are some drawbacks. people who use toki pona like this tend to talk more about toki pona then actually using it, and their nasins tend to differ a bit from the living language as I described above, which isn’t a bad thing to be using publically in this case because it’s following the philosophy.