Shepherding an online community

A great profile of the day-to-day thoughtfulness required of the folks in charge of Flickr’s online community-building.

Lest your inner libertarian objects to such interventions, Champ is quick to correct the idea that the community would ultimately find its own balance.

“The amount of time it would take for the community to self-regulate—I don’t think it could sustain itself in the meantime,” she says. “Anyway, I can’t think of any successful online community where the nice, quiet, reasonable voices defeat the loud, angry ones on their own.”

In this sense, Champ doesn’t just shepherd along the Flickr ethos; she’s a larger advocate of intelligent growth in an often chaotic zone.

“People become disassociated from one another online. The computer somehow nullifies the social contract,” she says. In other words, people sometimes go nuts amid the anonymity of the Internet.

from “Nasty as they wanna be? Policing,” by Chris Colin, SF Gate, 29 September 2008 :: via

Originally published at

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