Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Tag: Collaboration

Creating Shared Language and Shared Artifacts

We live in a world of conversation, of language; all full of words. Mastery of language requires learning the meanings of thousands of words. The average native English language speaker uses in the realm of 12,000 to 20,000 words, whereas a college graduate would use 20-25,000 words. Shakespeare actively used more then 30,000 words, and his vocabulary was estimated to be over 66,000 words. Yet there are, at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words, excluding inflections, and words from technical and regional vocabularies.

SynchroEdit: Simultaneous Editing for the Web

For the last several months I've been working on a new open source project that I've been calling SynchroEdit. SynchroEdit is a browser-based simultaneous multiuser editor, useful for "same-time" collaboration. The basic concept is that it allows multiple users to WYSIWYG edit a single web-based document, all at exactly the same time. SynchroEdit continuously synchronizes all changes so that users always see the same version. They can also see each others' changes as they type, see where each user is currently editing, and see each others' changes by color.

Dunbar, Altruistic Punishment, and Meta-Moderation

In my post about the Dunbar Number I offered some evidence on the levels of satisfaction of various group sizes based on some empirical data from online games. There I was able to show that even though the Dunbar Number might predict a mean group size of 150 for humans, that in fact for non-survival oriented groups the mean was significantly less, probably between 60 to 90. I also offered a second hypothesis, that there is a dip in satisfaction level of groups at around the size of 15.

Intimacy Gradient and Other Lessons from Architecture

A number of my posts have been about integrating different domains of knowledge in order to better understand how human behavior should be incorporated in the design of social software. I found The Dunbar Number in sociology, and both Four Kinds of Privacy and Progressive Trust come from my work in the cryptography field. The topic of this post comes from the field of architecture. In order to provide for Progressive Trust, you need to establish what is known as an "

Progressive Trust

I believe that as we evolve social software to better serve our needs and the needs of the groups that we are involved in, we need to figure out how to apply an understanding of how human groups behave and work. One useful concept I use I call "Progressive Trust". The basic idea is to model how trust works in the real world, between real people, rather then solely relying on mathematical or cryptographic trust.

Simple Yet Sophisticated Group Page Editing

I have been leading the design of a new Open Source collaboration tool called EditThisPagePHP, which started six months ago and now is in beta. My goal with EditThisPagePHP attempt to come close to Dave Winer's visionary statement back in May of 1999: When I'm writing for the web, and I'm browsing my own site, every bit of text that I create has a button that says Edit This Page when I view it.