Essays on Technology and Culture

Farming and the Social Web

I wonder how much better we could make online spaces if we took more cues from farmers. Because any farmer can tell you, the deer will never decide to stop being deer. It’s your job to protect your garden. Or, at least, make it inhospitable enough that the pests move on to the next one.

Derek Powazek – Today I Built a Chicken Coop

Too many people who build spaces online suffer from a blind spot on human behavior. They either are blind to the idea that some people are going to trash a public space, (see also Microsoft’s Tay bot for just the latest in a long string of examples), or they are blind to the idea that curation is necessary to a good community. It is no longer enough to just build something and wait for people to come. Online spaces need care, curation, and cultivation. Anything less is just begging for the deer to destroy your crops.