...Social interaction creates a tension between the individual and the
group. This is true of all social interaction, not just online....
Any system that supports groups addresses this tension by enacting a
simple constitution -- a set of rules governing the relationship
between individuals and the group. These constitutions usually work
by encouraging or requiring certain kinds of interaction, and
discouraging or forbidding others. Even the most anarchic
environments, where "Do as thou wilt" is the whole of the law, are
making a constitutional statement. Social software is political
science in executable form...
...Further complicating all of this are the feedback loops created when a
group changes its behavior in response to changes in software.
Because of these effects, designers of social software have more in
common with economists or political scientists than they do with
designers of single-user software, and operators of communal resources
have more in common with politicians or landlords than with operators
of ordinary web sites.