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Yes, Austin, there is such a thing as Social Physics

The Difficulty of Scaling up Communities

Since I'm thinking of building up a community around the new Creative Houston newsletter, I'm fascinated by this information about scaling communities. This research suggests to me, that for my purposes, I should probably plan on keeping the community below 150 people, as I don't have the resources to manage a bigger one yet. 

One Man & His Blog: Engaged journalism, membership models and communities under attack: important new research from the Reuters Institute, 2019-Oct-25 by Adam Tinworth thing we’ve known for a very long time in community management is that scale does break community. It always breaks community. It’s how the community breaks - what the triggering factors are - that’s actually interesting. And, happily, the report digs deep on that.

There are a group of standard ways communities break. For example, Dunbar’s Number is a problem. For something to be a genuine community, you can’t scale too large. You almost always get fragmentation issues if you don’t handle that growth intelligently. More seriously, the larger the audience, the greater the rewards for bad actors. For the simple troll, the attention seeker, the bigger community delivers a bigger reward for their antics. For the misinformation or propaganda purveyor, it offers a bigger surface for dissemination of their politicized content.