posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 04:43 AM
This will be an interesting watch. Sociological studies in social networks, anthropology and some other sciences must be watching how this plays out.
The creation of "thought police" are a sign of entropy in such systems. If managing wisdom is compiled at a faster rate than the system breaks
down, it could survive though. More likely such management of specifics is generally found to not be the prevailing mechanism of survival. Better
overall design is the answer.
The host network might find that managing what we might think are small adjustments that when seen as “a day’s work” are actually many small and
unique adjustments. I would suspect that moderators would possibly eventually be overwhelmed.
On the one hand there is the operational standard of everyone’s opinion is valid, save for the more sociopathic interlopers and violations of site
rules of order.
On the other, as discussions get more interesting and specific, draw in more serious thinkers that disruptions might dismantle the intellectual
stability by exasperating the participants not wanting to defend, but simply to stay on topic. A mod might not have the expertise to know what is
going down to the extent they can prevent breakdown.
A discussion on stem cells might evolve to some interesting theoretical with science-specific comments. A religious contingent enters in and without
giving away it’s group association proceeds to shift conversation by “pulling strings” they know will insult or frustrate. People who do not
want to lower their integrity by entering into a heated discussion, bible study or are not interested in defending their ideas will drop off. The
“defenders” stay on for a few pages but run out of steam. End of thread.
There are instances where threads can get very specific in technical discussion points, and deeper to the concepts being talked about. They might
draw in very talented and well known people in the specific field. Yet if agitators roam free and know they can destroy a thread while still
following the rules, yet not the spirit of the rules, they retain a certain power to control. Mods cannot be there all the time.
So I can see how valuable it is in some cases to have areas for those who already agree on a general issue yet want to go deeper without interruption.
How can this be done though without exclusory structure that could be seen as violations of free speech?
I have been on a thread where I just want to hear the OP talk about the subject they claim to have insight. As the posts progress however, they spend
so much time defending the reality of what they experienced and are attacked so often with insult and flippant remarks that they cannot continue, as
this usually will exasperate them, and they bail. Then those who originally where interested in the discussion again stay on for sometimes several
Without many very knowledgeable mods fielding complaints, kicking agitators, identifying problems and defending their badges like a sheriff in a rowdy
boom town, in other words very busy, things might get out of hand. So network size will not be as important than network design.
Threads have slowed in some areas it seems of late. Same areas where heated argumentative activity was active. Could just be natural fluctuations,
or could be signs of impending adjustment.
People who are frustrated or disillusioned with attempts at deeper discussion will just go to other networks more specific to the subject, or just
give up and go back to talking at the local penny university (*old term for coffee shops where intellectuals sat and talked all day for a few pennies
worth of Joe).
As said, this will be an interesting watch.