Erin Malone points to an article on the challenges of managing the Flickr community in the SF Chronicle:
"People bring their human relationships to Flickr, and we end up having to police them," Champ says. …
Lest your inner libertarian objects to such interventions, Champ is quick to correct the idea that the community would ultimately find its own balance.
"The amount of time it would take for the community to self-regulate — I don't think it could sustain itself in the meantime," she says. "Anyway, I can't think of any successful online community where the nice, quiet, reasonable voices defeat the loud, angry ones on their own."
This struck me as uncannily relevant to what’s going on right now in the US economy.
Once social platforms like Flickr reach a certain size, they really do become a weird amalgam of City & Economy, and they require governance. Heather Champ (Flickr’s estimable community manager) points out that, even if you truly believe a collective crowd like this will self-regulate, much damage will be done on the way to finding that balance.
Isn’t that precisely the perennial tension we have in terms of free-market economics?
It seems to me that User Experience design is increasingly needing to learn from Economics and Political Science — and it may even have a thing or two to teach them, as well.
I have lots of thoughts on this, but too many to get down here … just wanted to bring it up because I think it’s so damned fascinating.