[Home]EnlargeSpace

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In order to preserve GlobalResources, create more public space. This reduces limited resource tension. Unlike the RealWorld, land is cheap online. In effect, this nullifies the TragedyOfTheCommons by removing the resource pressure that created the "tragedy" in the first place. You can't overgraze the infinity.

For example, wikis have an infinitely expanding page graph. You can always create another page for your viewpoint, even if that viewpoint was bullied off another page. However, the real limited resource is RecentChanges, so enlarge RecentChanges through SubscribedChanges. If that's too radical for you, many wikis such as TwikiClone have implemented WikiNameSpaces (cf. LinkingBetweenNamespaces).

Similarly, KuroShin's front page was under pressure in the long long ago. Stories were sliding off the front page at a tremendous rate. Consequently, the site added the concept of "sections" akin to the sections of your local newspaper. While the front page remained for the most important stories, some stories could optionally be sent to sections. This dampened the flow.

Additionally, KuroshinSubmissionQueue was under pressure from a number of substandard stories that related mostly to people's personal lives. They wanted to share their lives, and many wanted to listen, but many others didn't like the insular club-like atmosphere the site was taking. So, KuroShin added OnlineDiarys to alleviate pressure on the queue. Members could then write directly in their diaries, which appeared immediately (no queue) in a special "Diary" section. Often now when a story in the queue is too personal or too informal, people ask it be moved to someone's diary. Interestingly, the converse is also true. Many stories were first created as diary entries and moved onto the main site.

Caution should be had when doing this, however. Enlarging space prematurely or excessively will create a disparate and non-cohesive community. You will be spreading the community too thin, rarifying interaction amongst individuals. If the community has no natural unifying force, this will kill the community. If the community must work together, an expensive and inefficient structure must be created to overcome the distance. A telling example of the latter is CarCulture in North America. Due to the excessive amounts of space in the New World, city planners gave away large plots of land to the settlers and now to suburbanites. This necessitates the use of cars, which in turn necessitate the construction of ever larger roadways. Another example is a water pipe. A very large water pipe will not create enough pressure to move the water at all past the natural imperfections of the pipe (think pooling, friction, evaporation, etc.). A particularly potent example is American cable TV's demand for more channels. The surge of new air time has not been matched with a surge in new content, forcing stations to produce lower quality material to fill time. As The Boss sang, 52 channels and nothing on. Furthermore, although the increased amount of advertising space led to a drop in advertising revenue, the drop in quality has compounded this glut in advertising dollars as well, as it's been harder to attract viewers strongly enough to hold them through the commercial break.

The optimal solution, then, is to find a way of growing as needed. Allow the space to be enlarged naturally. Wikis, for example, allow users to create new pages as they want to. Of course, even this needs a BalancingForce, as users still create shallow pages (cf. AvoidClutterLinks), but users can easily undo this change as well. PageDeletion also helps limit growth by pruning dead pages.

Two special spaces you can create to alleviate pressure on the rest of the site are the FrontLawn and MessageBoxes.

CategorySoftSecurity


Enlargement seems to be a special case of the more general notion of channeling, both of attention and energy. Enlarging seems to be a widening of the channel, implying a lessening of focus, whereby the "pressure relief" type of channeling is a diversion and division of the stream of attention. Another type would be strictly limiting the amount of information permitted expression. For example, a collaborative weekly magazine may limit its weekly output to say 5000 words. In imposing this limit, the contributors then must devise a process whereby the permitted word output is reached, thereby distributing the power to create meaning. This limitation then concentrates a maximum of meaning in a minimum of verbiage. Isn't this known as elegance?

Another example of limitation would be in formalized debate. Much like face-to-face debaters are limited by time, online debaters could be limited by bytes. This enforces investment by writers and bestows its fruit on readers. --LynHeadley

Enlarging the space can be performed through exercise of the RightToFork. Perhaps some perceive there to be a difference, with forking being more discontinuous and conflict-prone than enlargement, but that depends subjectively upon ones approach to the process. --anon.

The potential problems with EnlargeSpace are similar to those of RightToFork. While it certainly resolves resource conflicts such as over space and attention, there is a potential loss to the community. First, CommunityCohesion? suffers; now that individuals with different perspectives or goals have different places to be, the community splits into two sub-communities, potentially forming into two separate and disparate communities altogether as time passes. Second, due to the unraveling cohesion, the pressure on the community to resolve competing perspectives reduces. A example of how this could be very bad is white vs. black America; because they live in separate Americas, in separate communities, they do not have to deal with each other and the problem perpetuates (and exacerbates). Third, because common resolutions and CommonContext disappear, common values and common CommunityExpectations disappear, or at least are transformed. This is how new communities formed.

The ultimate cost of enlarging space in this way will be a weaker community. Pluralism is difficult, but it's superordinate. There is something to be said about the cliché of "mixing it up". Like diamonds, pressure will only make your community stronger and brighter.

We can compare this scenario of enlarging space to the one describe above in a very simple way. If intent of enlarging space is not to get rid of people who disagree with you, but to allow those with differing perspectives to grow and flourish and strengthen their positions so that they can return to contribute forcefully to TheCollective of the community, then EnlargeSpace. Otherwise, the community has deep negative sentiments that require ConflictResolution before moving forward. Enlarging space in this latter case is only avoiding and reinforcing the conflict.

Thus, we must find a BalancingForce to EnlargeSpace, and that is merely to nourish a strong trunk to provide the CommonContext for all the branches that grow from it and return nourishment back to it, to use a biological metaphor. From this analogy, it may be obvious to you that the branches and the trunk are all part of the same tree. EnlargeSpace means enlarge the existing space, not create a new one. This is how EnlargeSpace is different from RightToFork. Forking creates a new, distinct space. In the metaphor of the tree, that would mean the tree has reproduced, and we notice that child tree does not return nourishment to the parent as it is distinct and individual and will develop in its own way. While valuable to propogate the ideas representing the parent, it must be done with the intent to let the child (community) go and be its own thing. That isn't enlarging space; that's creating new space. -- SunirShah

By the way, the diary section on KuroShin exemplifies a middling ground between creating space and enlarging space, as there still is a CommonContext, it's just very complicated (all the other site interactions). Indeed, many people stop reading articles on KuroShin and concentrate only the DiaryCollective?, which demands the question how successful was the act of creating the diary section? Maybe it was better than expected, or maybe the answer is complex, depending on the perspective one has. -- SunirShah

If you cannot force the undesirables to move, another way to EnlargeSpace is for the "elite" to escape the undesirables. American suburbs allow whites to escape the blacks. In this way, it should become clear that EnlargeSpace can actually be used to create and reinforce ClassStriation. This should be avoided at all costs as a very dark AntiPattern. -- SunirShah


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