Negative Attention

Another brilliantly lucid Shirky offering: Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software

If you like this article I’d highly recommend Derek Powazek’s Design For Community which details, equally lucidly, much of the thinking and practical development around online communities. It’s a shame that someone has taken down the excerpts of chapters on the site :o(

A few memorable quotes from Shirky:

“It is a deep curiosity of the human condition that people often find negative attention more satisfying than inattention”

(something I often worry about in myself!)

“In economic parlance, weblogs solve the tragedy of the commons [this article] through enclosure, the subdividing and privatizing of common space.”

(I try and try and try to show people that these technologies are as important as the buildings we work in, I agree we do have to look at them from a ‘macro’ level, but there’s a logic & reasoning and significance in the different designs of these that says “LOOK AT ME!”)

“Weblogs and wikis are proof that you can have broadly open discourse without suffering from hijacking by flamers, by creating a social structure that encourages or deflects certain behaviours.”

(I need to think about including this in next weblog paper… y’know I’m not too sure about including wikis though, I’m not sure if they are discourse facilitators or simply collaboration tools once and while the discourse is occurring through other means, perhaps)

“Like Slashdot, he violates the assumption that social software should come with no group limits on individual involvement, and Craigslist works better because of it.”

(No limits = No work… there’s a common belief still apparent in elearning that this technology is great because people can access ‘learning objects’ whenever and how they want to. Doesn’t work. Again, open up unlimited & unstructured communication channels to groups of learners and you’ll be sorely disappointed…)

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