Many people participating in online communities notice that there is a certain tendency to exagerate (online) social competence: Those that start the conversation will end up talking more and more, while those that are subdued and humble in the beginning will end up as lurkers. Similarly, newbies are either insensitive and violate CommunityExpectation, or they self-conscious and quiet, and end up never posting anything, hoping for others to do it for them. In the wiki context, we have a collection of documents we want to improve: Add pages, edit pages, rewrite pages. We also want to involve others. How do we reach out to those quiet people out there?

One design criteria is to make the barrier-to-entry as low as possible. Basically aim for zero-hassle no-fuss participation:

A higher barrier to entry acts as a PricklyHedge – it keeps out people that are not ready to invest at least a tiny amount of energy. In real systems, there is a trade-off to make. These trade-offs are central to SoftSecurity.

A low barrier to entry will facilitate vandalism, spam, etc. Use SoftSecurity to limit those to small acts that are easily undone.

I don’t think that the technical barriers are so important. The social barriers are much higher and much harder to overcome.

A group that knows each other well will seem like a fortess from outside.

Any good idea or great article will reject those that feel unable to produce similar quality.

How many women, latinos or Africans do we meet in our communities?

The barriers are not in the software or the computers, they are in our brains.

the software in our computers, our libraries, our tools - that’s our exteriorized brains. As much as the problem is in our real (personal) brains it’s out in the world we shaped using it, and especially in the software on our computers - we seriously try to recreate our brain now. Cars for legs, planes for wings, it’s our brains turn now. Our brains and our exteriorized brain are functions of each other. Each is comletely dependent on the other, they are indevideable interwoven into each other. They are not really two, they are one (+ wikipedia included btw ;)



EditNearLinks: PricklyHedge CommunityExpectation