Interesting article abou the "quality" of online communities
by, 10-13-2010 at 12:19 PM (1393 Views)
The Evaporative Cooling Effect ... occurs when the most high value contributors to a community realize that the community is no longer serving their needs any more and so therefore, leave. When that happens, it drops the general quality of the community down such that the next most high value contributors now find the community underwhelming. Each layer of disappearances slowly reduces the average quality of the group until such a point that you reach the people who are so unskilled-and-unaware of it that they’re unable to tell that they’re part of a mediocre group.If anyone can join your community, then the people most likely to join are those who are below the average quality of your community because they have the most to gain. ... Communities that are allowed to select their members in some way are much more immune to Evaporative Cooling.
Social Gatings are mechanisms that allow participants to self-select out of the group. The only people who would choose to participate in this group in the first place are those who find the talk sufficiently interesting to take 3 hours out of their life. This, by itself set a minimum bar.
Unequal roles of participation can help shift the gradient of power and kill the evaporative cooling ... When the community is small ... High value participants are treated as special because they have recognition & reputation from the community ... online communities seem particularly resistant to the type of elitist promotion structure common in real world institutions
---one of the most successful technological systems ever at scaling while maintaining quality: Facebook. when some random person is participating in Facebook from Brazil, it has an absolutely negligible effect on my experience
A response (of sorts) and something that I can immediately recognize from my past contributions, is here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/c1/wellkept_...e_by_pacifism/
It's refreshing to see ideas that I've mulled on recently analyzed in such a critical and clear-thought fashion.