A few months ago, I wrote a column about the O'Reilly web services and P2P conference in Washington. In the column, I mentioned that Clay Shirky's keynote stressed how the value of group-forming networks (GFNs) rises even faster than what Metcalfe's law suggests. A reader (UserLand's John Robb, actually) wrote to point out that this exponential-growth property of GFNs was discovered and elaborated by David Reed, and is known as Reed's law.
As I watch myself and others use Radio UserLand, and observe what's happening in the blogging world in general, it strikes me that some issues I raised in my book -- particularly about ways of creating overlapping scopes of collaboration -- remain unresolved. I conclude there remains an opportunity to define the requirements for a GFN, and create software that implements those requirements.
I wonder what people would list as requirements for a GFN? Mine include:
Ability for users (not administrators) to create multiple overlapping collaborative scopes.
Scoped services -- e.g. partitioned search, referral analysis, ranking.
An easily-adjustable boundary between public and private spaces.
Ability to migrate content and discussion among partitions.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2002/02/11.html#a57