An Artisan in Social Software…


I’m going to take the unusual approach of linking through to a comment I’ve made on someone else’s site. The comment is flawed – it’s full of typos and errors and gets a bit over-excited every so often – but essentially I stand by most of it – particularly this part which is about the relationship between research/debate and hands-on experience running an online community:

From my response to ‘Falling in with the wrong crowd’
“There’s a pretension around our work that says that we’re scientists – but mostly weÔøΩre not – we’re artisans. We build things for people to use. We build things that extend the abilities of individuals in one way or another. As such people who work in this field should be doing apprenticeships as much as they should be doing research. They should be managing a community, understanding the tensions and the collapses, noticing the problems and the benefits, seeing where people get stuck and where they need to get stuck – where they need structure and where that structure will kill them.”