The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust, and Why Groups Don't Scale (Bay Chi 2006-07-11)

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Presentation to BayChi on July 11th 2006.

We are relying increasingly on internet-mediated social software tools for our day-to-day interaction with other people. To design this type of software, we must better understand the psychology and social dynamics of individuals in groups. Awareness of what makes us human is now often as important to the success of the software as is understanding software architecture and code. One particular sociological factor, the Dunbar Number, is useful in understanding why groups don't scale at different group sizes. A deeper awareness of why groups have different behaviors, the nature of unstructured trust, and which current tools appear to work best at different scales, can give guidance to both the online facilitator and the social software designer.

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The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust, and Why Groups Don't Scale (Bay Chi 2006-07-11)

  1. July 11, 2006 The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Christopher Allen
  2. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Christopher Allen
  3. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar
  4. The Dunbar Number Groups Size & Neocortex Ratio
  5. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al.
  6. The Dunbar Number Survival Groups
  7. The Dunbar Number Survival Groups
  8. The Dunbar Number Survival Groups
  9. The Dunbar Number Survival Groups
  10. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al. Unstructured Trust
  11. Unstructured Trust No trust
  12. Unstructured Trust Familiar Stranger
  13. Unstructured Trust Conversations for Discovery
  14. Unstructured Trust Casual Friends
  15. Unstructured Trust The Band
  16. Unstructured Trust The Crowd
  17. Unstructured Trust The Mob
  18. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al. Unstructured Trust So what are the limits to group size?
  19. Limits to Group Size Ultima Online Sizes of Guilds
  20. Limits to Group Size Ultima Online Histogram of Sizes of Guilds
  21. Limits to Group Size World of Warcraft Subgraph Map of a Guild
  22. Limits to Group Size World of Warcraft Max Subgraph Size of all Guilds
  23. Limits to Group Size World of Warcraft Subgraph Ratio of all Guilds
  24. Limits to Group Size Group Satisfaction
  25. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al. Unstructured Trust So what are the limits to group size? Group size problems
  26. Concept: Group Size Problems Too Few People Insufficient critical mass Unable to sustain conversation Feels like you are alone Lack of commitment or leadership Groupthink & Echo Chamber
  27. Concept: Group Size Problems Too Few People Insufficient critical mass Unable to sustain conversation Feels like you are alone Lack of commitment or leadership Groupthink & Echo Chamber Too Many People Too noisy, not enough signal Lack of trust, unequal trust Cliques & bad gossip Inappropriate politics Other social contract failures Flames Trolls Tragedy of the commons
  28. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al. So what are the limits to group size? Unstructured Trust Group size problems Appropriate social software for different group sizes Cycle of Flames
  29. Concepts: Cycle of Flames Cycle of Flames Text is missing emotional cues We over-interpret emotions We reply at similar intensity (Emotional Contagion) We empathize less when emotions are intense Thus “Cycle of Flames” Irony ➫ Sarcasm ➫ Insult ➫ Flame!
  30. Concepts: Cycle of Flames Cooling Flames Avoid emotional words should, didn’t, forgot Avoid irony and sarcasm When necessary, use smilies to avoid confusion ;-) Don’t escalate Educate
  31. The Dunbar Number, Unstructured Trust & Why Groups Don’t Scale Dr. Robin Dunbar Gladwell, Watts, Buchanan, et al. So what are the limits to group size? Unstructured Trust Group size problems Appropriate social software for different group sizes
  32. Concept: Appropriate Size Small Groups (2-12 active, best for 4-9 active) Chat Room Teleconference w/Backchannel Cooperative Editor Discussion List - Flat Blogs - Shared only to Private Blogs - Group Authored
  33. Concept: Appropriate Size Small Groups (2-12 active, best for 4-9 active) Chat Room Teleconference w/Backchannel Cooperative Editor Discussion List - Flat Blogs - Shared only to Private Blogs - Group Authored Medium Groups (13-150 active, best for 25-80 active) Instant Message Avatar Chat Discussion List - Threaded Wiki - Single Workspace
  34. Concept: Appropriate Size Small Groups (2-12 active, best for 4-9 active) Chat Room Teleconference w/Backchannel Cooperative Editor Discussion List - Flat Blogs - Shared only to Private Blogs - Group Authored Medium Groups (13-150 active, best for 25-80 active) Instant Message Avatar Chat Discussion List - Threaded Wiki - Single Workspace Large Groups (150+ active) Discussion List - Reputation Filterered (i.e. SlashDot) Wiki - Multiple Workspaces Blog - Public Social Network
  35. Blog at http://www.LifeWithAlacrity.com ChristopherA@LifeWithAlacrity.com

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