Re: FWD: Clay Shirky on group dynamics

Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 18:01:55 MDT

-- outlawpoet wrote:
> You make a large leap here, from communities have people who do more
> the 'leaders' of a community) to community building is simply a process of
> leader-selection. I disagree, because there are many communities that have no
> clear leader, yet remain effective and rewarding.

In fact, I am not referring to a single leader, whether it be by authority
through title or assigned position as a manager, nor a king with a hierachy of
subordinates. I am referring to the type of leader(s) that people choose to
follow or listen to - some extreme examples of powerful leaders would be Ghandi
and Hitler. Those effective communities that have no clear authoritative leader
work because the members are in fact leading as well as following. Upon further
examination of a community, you might actually find that some people have the
ability to lead more than others.

> is the leader of slashdot? CmdrTaco? He started it, but the frontpage stories
> are selected by a groupeffect, not by him, nor anyone else. Who is the leader
> Extropy? Max More is the headman, certainly, but he's few and far between on
> lists, whereas bigtime list posters are nowhere to be found at the events.

They might have led the founding of these communities, but these online
communities are now led by the members who get listened to the most, most
likely the frequent posters. Offline, Max More seems to be (one of) the leaders.

> Communities need dedicated members, and Shirky makes a point of the fact that
> some sense of 'real members' new members, and core members may need to
> establishing. But no body wants online monarchies, except some men who would
> king.

Agreed. Hopefully you've understood my explanation of the two types of leaders -
 one leader is defined by authority with subordinates, the other type of leader
by their ability to communicate with their peers.

Of course, if you're setting out to build an online community, you probably
need to take on both my described leadership roles, like Eliezer is doing with
this SL4 list, or people who create MUD's. Slashdot and the Extropian
communities is an example of where the founders are not the biggest leaders WRT
their online access.

>From an intra-corporation standpoint, Carmack from id Software is an example of
a founder who wants to stay involved in the core of the business, leading with
his coding skillz, not with his authority.

So by my definition, who are the leaders of this SL4 online community? Those
with the most posts so far, I would say. Speaking for myself, when Eliezer or
Ben post, I read it. They are my SL4 leaders. There are others whose postings I
respect too, but they're relatively post less frequently for me to consider
them as SL4 leaders.


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