My friend Jen sent me this link about social software, groups of people online, and some general guidelines about creating and maintaining social space on the internet. I can’t decide which part of my life this article feeds more; the librarian side, where I’m looking at social software for academic purposes, or the true geek side, who is/was a part of several of the communities mentioned in this article. (I mean, how many people can say they know exactly what that Lambda reference meant to that community?) But for the moment, the part that jumps out to me most echoes my own comments about the v-ref article from a few days back:
Now, when I say these are three things you have to accept, I mean you have to accept them. Because if you don’t accept them upfront, they’ll happen to you anyway. And then you’ll end up writing one of those documents that says “Oh, we launched this and we tried it, and then the users came along and did all these weird things. And now we’re documenting it so future ages won’t make this mistake.” Even though you didn’t read the thing that was written in 1978.
Word, yo. I feel like this is just what the v-ref people are doing; not so much with getting upset about unruly users, but explaining away their failure by blaming it on users. There’s been a lot of research on this sort of thing; I could tell you right off that there were problems with v-ref implementation. But no one listens to me, do they. Noooooooo.