May 10, 2006

Freitas on Civility

Adaptive Pather Ryan Freitas takes issue with the Wikipedian optimism that communities will naturally develop trust:

Jimmy [Wales] also stressed that the design of the community space was important. To demonstrate the flaws in typical thinking about designing for community, he riffed on what a restaurant designed with those principles would be like. You’d start with a “feature”, like wanting to serve steak; figure out an implication, such as, well, if you serve steaks, you need steak knives; worry about an edge case, so that, if you have steak knives, people could hurt each other; and devise a solution, which is to put diners in individual cages so they can’t stab one another.

Freitas considers this.

The problem is… uh, guys, have you been to a steak house recently? I helped a friend design one, a couple years back.

In fact, cutlery is chosen carefully, and the designers do think about angry and inebriated customers. People will surprise you: they may be surprisingly good or suprisingly bad, but they're bound to astonish you.

You hear about that World of Warcraft guild that gathered in-game to mourn the real life passing of a friend? They were ambushed and slaughtered by another group of gamers.

Thanks, PeterMe.