Social Software

Signal to Noise on Community Sites…

Inspired by this post over in a thread at Metafilter about the signal to noise ration of community sites (which reminds me of this thread over at I am beginning to think through the implications of information transmission and its relationship to community. Imagine two nodes on the net – designed essentially just to send information from one to another. Additional information is also transmitted however – information on the relationship between nodes, information on whether a packet has been received or not etc. This relationship is very similar to that of community sites – a site which merely transmits information is not, and cannot be a community site. Nor indeed can an individual who merely transmits information be considered part of a community. To an extent the ‘noise’ is more a staple of the community than the information – it may appear like meme fluff – unnecessary – but it’s the stuff that transmits information about disposition, affiliation, loyalty, relationships both in terms of expressing oneself, and developing one’s relationship with others. So the question becomes: what is the appropriate ratio of signal to noise?