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On the Old-School-Meets-Social-Software tip, Jo Freeman's essay from 1970, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" is a good antidote to the fear of structure in group endeavors. It was a critique of the design of groups in the women's movement, but is beautifully and broadly applicable to many arenas (including, near to my heart, the design of software meant to support group interaction.)

Says Freeman: "Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature coming together for any length of time, for any purpose, will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible, it may vary over time, it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed..."




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