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Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software (04 Nov 2004)
In addtion, when software designers do regard the users of social software, it is usually in isolation. There are many sources of this habit: ubiquitous network access is relatively recent, it is conceptually simpler to treat users as isolated individuals than as social actors, and so on. The cumulative effect is to make maximizing individual flexibility a priority, even when that may produce conflict with the group goals.

Flaming, an un-designed-for but reliable product of mailing list software, was our first clue to the conflict between the individual and the group in mediated spaces, and the initial responses to it were likewise an early clue about the weakness of the single-user design center.
Article URL: http://shirky.com/writings/group_user.html

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