Online Communities -

This article by Jason Clarke over at downloadsquad.com highlights some very interesting behaviours of online communities, looking at the socialsoftware website Digg.com.

He starts by recommending to

browse through the comments on few random frontpage posts at digg, andyou'll see what I mean. The sheer level of superiority, sarcasm, andgeneral negativity is overwhelming, and makes digg a place that is notonly not fun to visit, it's certainly not a place to "share, discover,bookmark, and promote the news that's important to you", as digg'stagline optimistically claims.

This negative group behaviour occurs in his eyes

...when the crowd involved reaches a certain threshold size, the valuethat is added by extra voices is more than negated by the "groupthink"that occurs as people begin shutting off their brains.

...a better analogy to illustrate the problem with the diggcommunity would be to liken it to a rock concert that gets out ofcontrol where a riot breaks out. The people in the crowd at the concertweren't looking for a riot when they showed up at the concert, theywere there looking to be entertained. The problem is that when a fewidiots in the crowd begin taking part in antisocial behavior, the"wisdom of crowds" tells the people in the crowd (particularly thosewho feel anonymous) that it's okay to take part in the nonsense.

Great article to reflect about the tradeoffs between different forms of facilitation, issues of scalability, etc.
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