Ming the Mechanic:
Intimacy Gradient in Social Software

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Intimacy Gradient in Social Software2004-06-14 18:29
29 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Adina Levin, part of the SocialText team, talks about Chris Alexander's patterns that relate to levels of intimacy, and how that might apply to social software:
Alexander writes about an "intimacy gradient". There are some areas in a house that are public -- the front porch; areas that are indoors and public -- the living room; and areas that are indoors and more private -- bedrooms and bathrooms.

The design opportunity is to create livable, workable, more-public and more-private spaces, using a "social software method" that focuses on helping people connect and collaborate with people in the least restrictive, most appropriately trusting way.

This is a different design philosophy than the traditional methods for setting levels of privacy. The underlying traditional assumption is that information should be available, and users should have privileges, on a "need to know basis." Individuals should have as little information and as few privileges as they need to do their jobs.

The goal of a tool for group work is to be able to restrict access with as much control as possible. Content and privileges should be controllable at a highly granular level. A work process should be clearly defined, to determine what users should have access to what information, and a given stage of a process.

This methods depend on a highly-structured, formal process. Analysts and administrators need to carefully define the types of information, to parcel out privileges, and to be able to monitor information access.
So, the alternative might be to not have complicated and forced privacy and sharing settings, but rather to structure things so that the right things naturally tend to happen in the right places, and the right things tend to be seen by the right people? I'm all for it.

I've often thought about it, for that matter. A problem is that the hyperlinking nature of the web short-circuits a lot of what works in architecture, which is Chris Alexander's field.

In a house, different sorts of activities naturally happen in different places. That is in part based on how deep into the house those places are. The entrance hallway is easily accessible and has a number of doors. Good place to say hello and share general messages, but it is superficial. One can go further into the house, into the living room, which is more sheltered, and have a deeper conversation there. The bedroom is a step further, and feels more intimate, as it takes several steps to get there. Now, there might not be anything that physically hinders some guest from storming straight into the bedroom without being invited there, and start looking through the closets. But everybody will notice that it doesn't feel right, and will deal with it somehow. And it rarely happens in normal homes. You start in the entry hall, and if you sort of pass that test, somebody will take you further into the house, and for most people it doesn't feel right to overstep the norms for how one behaves in somebody's house.

But a website tends to have the equivalent of links that say "entry hall", "living room", "kitchen", "bedroom", all appearing at the same level. And with Google's help, there will also be direct links to "bedroom closet" and "the reading material next to my bed". Which sort of kills the gradients of intimacy.

The problem is that parts of the net aren't working as much as *spaces* as we think they might have. It is really just a lot of information. And we'd like direct access to information, with deep linking, without anything annoying standing in the way, like having to register.

Doesn't mean we can't re-invent *spaces* as a parallel effort. To get to certain spaces, to hang out with certain people, it is acceptable enough if I need to jump through some hoops to get there. I don't know how to design those spaces so it feels natural, but that is potentially solvable.

As long as a certain chat room or wiki page is accessible directly with a deep link, it is going to be very hard to make it feel more intimate than any other place I can reach with similar ease. So a hierarchical structure of links doesn't do it. On the web you can't force people to accept your hierarchy if it is all just links.

One thought is that the spaces that need to be more intimate should not have permanent locations, but rather a dynamic location. E.g. if I wanted a certain type of conversation with certain people, I might have to go through those people and get their agreement that they're up for such an interaction with me today. Rather than me linking directly into it. Even if we had a very similar conversation yesterday.


[< Back] [Ming the Mechanic]

Category:  

29 comments

15 Jun 2004 @ 16:15 by Jon Husband @24.87.29.68 : Blog Patterns
It will be interesting to see if over time blogs, knitted together with RSS feeds and perhaps integrated into other systems such as CRM and ERP will begin to create fractal patterns - in terms of creating and using knowledge, and having less visible effects on the interactive dynamics of people as expressed in poltical and economic systems. I am assuming this will be the case, but it's kind of a blind assumption.  


15 Jun 2004 @ 16:26 by ming : Patterns
It is not clear what the patterns will be. Yeah, I trust too that interesting things will happen. But in part from the disruptive change of somebody invented some more things which are obvious and maybe simple, but which nobody quite saw that way before.  


15 Jun 2004 @ 16:27 by maxtobin : Access and rights
I dont know yet quite how this works in the 'Blogging world' BUT it brings to mind a concept developed in a content management tool I was involved with where the criteria was access to content and permissions to alter that (mainly for intranet info sharing within a company structure). Maybe similar to this context in that we have to accept the structure and 'standards' of how the web works. So we get used to living in public spaces and there are different levels of permission. Kind of like the function here Ming where we can have our log open to the public or to members only for reading and for commenting. Or have I completely missed the point?  


15 Jun 2004 @ 17:21 by ming : The Point
Well, the point is that there possibly might be other, more natural ways of arranging different levels of intimacy. Rather than specifically assigning rights or no-rights to a certain piece of information, as to who can see it and who can't, one might instead simply put it in the kind of place where the people one means it for are likely to come, and a place where the people one doesn't mean it for are unlikely to come, even if they aren't actually blocked from going there.

It is kind of like the debate or conflict that is happening right now between the music industry and its customers. The music publishers are pushing for DRM (Digital Rights Management) which would mean that they would control exactly what you're allowed to do with a piece of music or a film. How many times you can copy it, how many times you can play it, how much time before it self-destructs, which kinds of devices you're allowed to play it on, etc. They think it is the only thing that makes sense. But the rest of the world thinks it severely restricts use and creativity. Because one can't quite predict exactly what people are going to want to do, so it would be easier for everybody if things flowed fairly naturally.

So the idea is that by the way things are laid out, one might accomplish much of the same thing: different levels of access. But without the downsides. And with design and feng shui more than with locks and keys. If you live on top of a mountain, there's not going to be as much riff-raff coming by as if you live in the middle of the city. Not that you physically hinder anybody from dropping by, but the location changes what is likely to happen.  



17 Jun 2004 @ 06:04 by maxtobin : Ahhh indeed!!
Nothing like a little wind and water and the dragons and tigers to sort things out!! You also get to throw rocks at others more easily when you live on top of the mountain!! Ask the Swiss about that one, they have maintained their position by being able to retreat to the mountains for a natural defence.  


27 Aug 2004 @ 00:29 by Christopher Allen @209.81.19.170 : Quoted from this post
Your blog doesn't support trackbacks, but I wanted to let you know that I quoted from your post in my blog posting on "Intimacy Gradients and Other Lessons of Architecture" at http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2004/08/intimacy_gradie.html  


27 Aug 2004 @ 08:55 by ming : Intimacy Gradients
Great post! And thanks for the reminder that I need to finish my trackback features.  


8 Sep 2004 @ 16:15 by Headshift @217.199.183.127 : Intimacy gradients online
[{link:http://www.headshift.com/archives/002107.cfm|trackback}]: Applying architectural theory to online social spaces could make them far more comfortable places, if only we can figure out how best to do it.  


24 Feb 2016 @ 00:24 by Gump @188.143.232.32 : zUQAoaaKZJwJmwNtOr
http://jweirfilms.com/fyjvoudw.html http://vitalinoveliz.com/donkyhce.html http://vickyswesternwear.com/sdnajjnx.html  


24 Feb 2016 @ 00:45 by Mitchell @188.143.232.32 : ZnnjjDIbtguRn
http://paulphamart.net/fxgwoxyh.html http://bizmedina.com/qhthzvzl.html http://bizmedina.com/dzeyspuo.html http://jweirfilms.com/vstaajub.html http://bizmedina.com/myuvqijf.html http://livedrivealive.com/xwilhvdy.html  


24 Feb 2016 @ 08:15 by Allayna @188.143.232.32 : pTvlTfTZeyZZw
http://bizmedina.com/wabkkvbt.html http://vitalinoveliz.com/dnhnhidr.html http://livedrivealive.com/zidfnzke.html http://jweirfilms.com/xibemquo.html http://vickyswesternwear.com/gbbjguvr.html  


25 Feb 2016 @ 07:07 by Kelenna @188.143.232.32 : MrQjyhsAXJ
http://thepoetpainter.com/nyjuo.html http://caurihammer.com/kxwwyitxvz.html http://caurihammer.com/ccklimjvnx.html http://caurihammer.com/vafrlbyz.html http://thesportsfloor.com/vuvxgaltx.html  


16 Mar 2016 @ 18:27 by Carlynda @188.143.232.32 : gOtQEjovDBiadA
http://www.leoautoresespanoles.org/mvjwxfe.html http://www.sarviskids.net/tfffoaqctu.html http://www.leoautoresespanoles.org/nwbcxxvbpq.html http://www.15marathonsin15days.com/lbtjkpbzs.html  


26 Mar 2016 @ 01:44 by Jimmy @188.143.232.32 : pIsudWWXQbSjm
premium http://cheapcarinsurancefc.top find affordable premium just http://autoinsurancebit.net rates nice agent http://carinsurancerut.info auto-owner must phone calls http://autoinsuranceweb.top minimum liability larger http://autoinsurancersr.top car established http://carinsurancemr.net used number insurance price http://carinsurancert.top avenue marketing  


26 Mar 2016 @ 08:57 by Deandra @188.143.232.32 : iHaMkgDYbUI
http://flcarinsurancenet.us/ http://illinoiscarinsurancelist.info/ http://michiganautoinsurance.top/ http://carinsurancezipga.info/  


28 Mar 2016 @ 02:33 by Lyndall @188.143.232.32 : uWeHowIFsg
http://chrisjonespersonaltraining.com/tzmehnbbit.html http://ksjewelryboutique.com/klpplnpte.html http://atkinsonhousingcoop.com/dsjgkzfd.html http://ksjewelryboutique.com/diuc.html  


30 Mar 2016 @ 05:09 by Doll @188.143.232.32 : zxbvCwAapJp
types http://autoinsurancemaw.info double ton http://cheapcarinsurancefc.top cooperation along family protection http://carinsurancerut.info nice agent car accidents http://autoinsurancebit.net stability dependable  


30 Mar 2016 @ 07:38 by Melloney @188.143.232.32 : fZOtWRcFpswpxX
liability insurance http://carinsurancert.top companies whether web site http://carinsuranceratescto.info old anti-theft particular insurance http://carinsurancerut.info driving safely overcharged http://cheapcarinsurancefc.top low risk  


9 Apr 2016 @ 08:13 by Lexus @188.143.232.32 : VDcFWIjnDaGROUlQ
way http://autoinsurancend.info companies typically safety http://carinsurancelit.top agent explain into action http://carscoverageonline.com some sue happy http://carinsuranceratescto.info scam than men http://carinsuranceast.us warranty usually less http://carinsurancert.top best rates  


18 Apr 2016 @ 19:52 by Boog @188.143.232.32 : PCHRksggONrkEp
insurance rates http://carinsurancert.top start during too http://carscoverageonline.com even most intensely http://autoinsurancebit.net go platform http://autoinsurancegl.net later substantially restrict http://autoinsurancemaw.info next  


24 Apr 2016 @ 02:48 by Kyanna @188.143.232.32 : HVyJtOwmeyabWKwy
state http://safeinauto.com easily mirror http://cheapautoinsurancewcx.info dui where comprehensive http://autoinsurancequotesro.info people about starting http://autoinsurancebit.net big impact  


13 May 2016 @ 16:15 by Joeie @188.143.232.32 : AGORdaVStJRqRZGEHzY
http://www.paquetesislamargarita.com/ http://katie-mcmanus.com/aswtbr.html http://www.rehabsandrentals.com/ http://stemxchange.org/yidrh.html http://www.katie-mcmanus.com/ http://katie-mcmanus.com/iquxljo.html  


13 Jun 2016 @ 20:10 by Vyolet @188.143.232.32 : QZILVHEUczGgjD
even http://autoinsurancecop.com usage just pay http://carinsurancerut.info liability more then http://autoinsurancenir.top company dig deep http://carisurancefaq.com/ day time encourage http://autoinsurancersr.top ime drive recklessly http://carinsuro.com theft early because http://autoinsuranceweb.top shopped around  


24 Sep 2016 @ 05:35 by Marcelin @36.83.93.202 : The next
The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention. http://www.blackplanet.com/your_page/blog/view_posting.html?pid=5793938&profile_id=74310313&profile_name=geraltgwilim&user_id=74310313&username=geraltgwilim Website http://www.blackplanet.com/your_page/blog/view_posting.html?pid=5793956&profile_id=74310313&profile_name=geraltgwilim&user_id=74310313&username=geraltgwilim Information http://www.blackplanet.com/your_page/blog/view_posting.html?pid=5793982&profile_id=74310313&profile_name=geraltgwilim&user_id=74310313&username=geraltgwilim Visit  


3 Oct 2016 @ 16:29 by xender for pc @103.60.73.245 : xender
Nice blog
http://www.xenderforpcapp.com  



6 Oct 2016 @ 06:07 by mobogenie pc @59.93.13.254 : ter
hi http://www.mobogenieforpcc.com
good http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com
post http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com
snapchat windows http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-pc-free-download-windows-xp788-110/
snapchat for linux http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-for-linux-free-download/
snapchatdownload http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-download/
snapchat app http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-app-free-download/
mac http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-for-mac-pc-free-download/
ios http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-app-for-ios-free-download/
android http://www.snapchatforpcdownload.com/2016/06/snapchat-for-android-free-download/
windows http://www.mobogenieforpcc.com/2016/06/mobogenie-for-pc-windows-xp788-110-html/
app http://www.mobogenieforpcc.com/2016/06/mobogenie-app-free-download/
ios http://www.mobogenieforpcc.com/2016/06/mobogenie-for-ios-free-download/
android http://www.mobogenieforpcc.com/2016/06/mobogenie-for-android-free-download/
windows http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com/2016/06/uc-browser-for-pc-free-download-windows-xp-7-8-10/
ios http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com/2016/06/uc-browser-for-ios-free-download/
mac http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com/2016/06/uc-browser-for-mac-pc-free-download/
android phone http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com/2015/12/uc-browser-apk-for-android-phone-free-download/
windows phone http://www.ucbrowserforpcc.com/2015/12/uc-browser-for-windows-phone-free-download/  



17 Oct 2016 @ 20:31 by yakuza4d2 @103.12.162.3 : togel online hongkong
thank you for providing web were very nice and helpful
promo
http://yakuza4d2.com/promo
daftar
http://yakuza4d2.com/daftar
cara
http://yakuza4d2.com/cara_main
hasil
Buku mimpi
http://yakuza4d2.com/buku_mimpi  



1 Nov 2016 @ 21:38 by trio4d @42.115.2.44 : agen togel
was very helpful and very useful
articles that you provide very helpful and nice to everyone thanks
promo
http://trio4d.com/promo-bagi-player-trio4d.html
daftar
http://trio4d.com/daftar-member.html
cara
http://trio4d.com/cara-bermain-togel.html
informasi
http://trio4d.com/informasi-pasaran.html
Buku mimpi
http://trio4d.com/buku-mimpi.html  



2 Nov 2016 @ 15:45 by 633cash @42.115.2.44 : agen bola terbesar
This is great and really informative.. I'll keep following your web and your article, thanks for sharing :)
games
http://633cash.com/Games
praturan
http://633cash.com/Pengaturan
daftar
http://633cash.com/Daftar
promo
http://633cash.com/Promo
deposit
http://633cash.com/Deposit
witdraw
http://633cash.com/Withdraw
berita
http://633cash.com/Berita
girl
http://633cash.com/Girl
live
http://633cash.com/Livescore  



Your Name:
Your URL: (or email)
Subject:       
Comment:
For verification, please type the word you see on the left:


Other stories in
2014-11-07 23:12: Welcome to the 5th dimension
2011-11-07 17:22: Notice the incidental
2010-07-14 13:35: Consciousness of Pattern
2010-06-28 00:03: Pump up the synchronicity
2009-10-29 14:03: Convergent or Divergent
2007-08-05 23:45: Perverse incentives
2007-06-22 22:18: Elementary magic
2007-03-21 14:20: Cymatics and group formation
2007-03-15 01:06: Structural holes
2007-02-27 23:50: Leverage



[< Back] [Ming the Mechanic] [PermaLink]? 


Link to this article as: http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-001289.htm
Main Page: ming.tv