Can Technology and Design Negate the Need for Political Regulation?
A provocative notion was stated in the context of online communities. Proposed May 30 by a UX Researcher at a well-known disruptive San Francisco business at an event called Design Research Night hosted at Facebook.
“The presence of a Community Manager is an indicator of flawed design.”
The implication of this statement is that humans, community managers, make up for social deficiencies of technology (the platform) and design (the way the platform is structured and interactively and visually designed). So conversely, in a world with excellent design (and the technologies to pull them off), human-powered management of the human community members is unnecessary.
Is this just naïve talk of a utopian world without trolls, griefers, and scammers? Or, with the “right” technical foundation, are people capable of behaving cordially or even altruistically?
I'm thinking that while she might be right, by the time such a community could be designed the concept of communities will have been socialized to the point that it would be impossible to extricate the causes and effects of a community’s success. And so the statement falls on my ears as the clarion call of an idealist, the effect of which may be a laudable vision toward a design purpose that supports community autonomy, if that is achievable or desirable. It certainly stems from a place of belief in low or no regulation. Design as a libertarian tool.
Is freedom the absence of political organization? Or does freedom stem from a well-designed, constructed and implemented political organization that is nearly invisible to the population – which might be Fascism, right? And yet given the complexity of most current societies, a lack of, or bare-bones political organization is a recipe for social collapse.
I’m not done with this topic. (For more on the topic, re-read Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky, 2008)
Experience researcher in high tech and built environments with an anthropology provenance.