Thursday, April 24, 2003
O'Reilly ET Con: A group is it's own worst enemy
Posted By Allen at 12:16 PM
The paradox of groups. There are no groups without members, and there are no members without groups. Groups have basic purposes: Sex Talk Identification and Vilification of external enemies Religious Veneration Group structure, a constitution or Robert's Rules, is necessary to defend the group from itself. To defend the group from falling into a basic purpose. It's hard to separate the technological aspects from the social aspects in an online group. In the political realm, this would be called a constitutional crisis. The chance that any unmoderated group will have a flame war over when to have a moderator will approach 1 with time. There is a revolution in social software going on. Small groups can interact in more and different ways that are impossible in large groups. We're starting to see software that assumes that all offline groups have an online component. If you were going to design a piece of social software today... You Have to Accept: You can't separate technical and social issues You can't completely program social issues, the group will assert it's rights Members are different than users You Have to Design For: A handle that matters to people reputation that is not portable Member in good standing You have to find a way to spare the group from scale All work on reputation systems is worthless.