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Friday, July 20

A Group is it's own worst enemy

Summary of web article:

This article was written in 2003 and deals with how online group dynamics work.

How is a group its own worst enemy?

You are at a party, and you get bored. You say "This isn't doing it for me anymore. I'd rather be someplace else. I'd rather be home asleep. The people I wanted to talk to aren't here." Whatever. The party fails to meet some threshold of interest. And then a really remarkable thing happens: You don't leave. You make a decision "I don't like this." If you were in a bookstore and you said "I'm done," you'd walk out. If you were in a coffee shop and said "This is boring," you'd walk out.

You're sitting at a party, you decide "I don't like this; I don't want to be here." And then you don't leave. That kind of social stickiness is what Bion is talking about.

And then, another really remarkable thing happens. Twenty minutes later, one person stands up and gets their coat, and what happens? Suddenly everyone is getting their coats on, all at the same time. Which means that everyone had decided that the party was not for them, and no one had done anything about it, until finally this triggering event let the air out of the group, and everyone kind of felt okay about leaving.

Important Facts:
  • You cannot completely separate technical and social issues.
  • Core Group - Members are different than users - "the group within the group that matters most."
  • The core group has rights that trump individual rights in some situations.
  • Design Handles the user can invest in
  • Design a way for there to be members in good standing. Who is in the Core Group
  • Barriers to participation
  • Find Ways to spare the group from scale


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