Own Worst Enemy [...]

A “group is its own worst enemy”. — Clay Shirky.

Justly famous post by Clay Shirky on the way groups work to defeat themselves.

So these are human patterns that have shown up on the Internet, not because of the software, but because it’s being used by humans. Bion has identified this possibility of groups sandbagging their sophisticated goals with these basic urges. And what he finally came to, in analyzing this tension, is that group structure is necessary. Robert’s Rules of Order are necessary. Constitutions are necessary. Norms, rituals, laws, the whole list of ways that we say, out of the universe of possible behaviors, we’re going to draw a relatively small circle around the acceptable ones.

He said the group structure is necessary to defend the group from itself. Group structure exists to keep a group on target, on track, on message, on charter, whatever. To keep a group focused on its own sophisticated goals and to keep a group from sliding into these basic patterns. Group structure defends the group from the action of its own members.(Source)


We want to see the user of software as the individual, as we do with desktop apps, but, as Shirky notes, in social software The User is the Group

Cohen’s Law predicts unmoderated groups will spend increasing bandwidth arguing about moderation.

Soft-forking Groups like those on Twitter, LiveJournal, or Tumblr have blurry edges and respond well to scale compared to other options. On the other hand, you can argue Twitter is a Community Without Community Tools

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