Aug 15

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Building Social Modeling Tools

Fantastic off-the-cuff essay by Anselm Hook over on the geowanking mailing list. Ranges from Jared Diamond's book Collapse to Sim City to Rules of Play to A Pattern Language, all in service of the question: "What would it take to build a social software model of our communities and watersheds?" (Forwarded by Nat.)

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Comments: 4

  anselm [08.16.05 02:06 PM]

I had an interesting chat yesterday with a long lost friend 'Rich Persaud' who I ran into by pure fluke here at 24hourlaundry in Palo Alto. He was an early social software engineer and ethnographer. He made an interesting comment that has really stuck with me. He pointed out the obvious that our societies are really about dealing with the tensions between the interests of different groups. There are all kinds of overlapping interests; the interests of children over a particular park, the interests of golfers over the same park. The interests of the established and entrenched against the dispossessed and insurgent. His twist was that these conflicts are not linear over time but that they have sudden inflection points where decisions are made. A community might finally decide to build a dam and the lead up to that dam construction is a struggle between the different interests; the ranchers versus the retirees who love to fish and the like. He had a term he used called 'transactions' and he said that the different parties involved in deciding when and how to build the dam should have many many opportunities to engage in micro transactions or dialogue in the form of meetings, comments, emails that will help them reach a consensus early; before the actual construction is begun (or the inflection point is transited). I like this idea of community discourse being a kind of turbulent river with lots of decisions leading up to a sudden inflection and then spreading out into a smooth slower laminar flow.... It was simply a nice mental model.

  Comic Strip Blogger [08.16.05 07:18 PM]

sorry for butting-in, but what do you think about this debacle relatedcto Foo Camp 2005?:

  Tim O'Reilly [08.17.05 01:58 PM]

Interesting choice of blog posting to add this comment to. I guess FOO Camp is about social modeling, eh :-) For more on this question, see

  Comic Strip Blogger [08.17.05 03:25 PM]

Sorry, Tim, for wrong place to post but at that time you didn't have relevant blog post yet. Anyway: please invite me next year for Foo Camp 2006! ;-)

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