A parable: A man was examining the construction of a cathedral. He asked a stone mason what he was doing chipping the stones, and the mason replied, “I am making stones.” He asked a stone carver what he was doing. “I am carving a gargoyle.&rdquo. And so it went, each person said in detail what they were doing. Finally he came to an old woman who was sweeping the ground. She said. “I am helping build a cathedral.”
...Most of the time each person is immersed in the details of one special part of the whole and does not think of how what they are doing relates to the larger picture.
For evolutionary reasons, human babies were never meant to be born and raised in isolation from a group. Psychotherapist Ruth Josselson believes it is especially important for young mothers to create and maintain an active social tribe after giving birth. There are two big problems with this suggestion: 1) Most of us don’t live in tribes, and 2) we move around so much that most of us don’t even live near our own families, our natural first tribal experience. The result is that many new parents live on the margins of their social lives. They don’t have a relative or trusted friend who can watch their kids while they take a shower, get some sleep, or make out with their spouses.
The solution is obvious: Reconstitute a vigorous social structure using whatever tools you have at hand.
Start forming one now, before the baby comes. There are many options. At the formal level, there are PEPS groups (Program for Early Parent Support) and churches and synagogues, all possessing built-in notions of community. Informally, you can host social get-togethers with your friends. Go out with other pregnant couples in Tribe Lamaze. Throw cooking parties, where you and your friends make a bunch of freezer meals. Having a 50-day meal supply all ready to eat before baby comes home is one of the best gifts you can give any prospective parent. Doing another 50 after baby arrives is a great way to cement your community.
Clearly, some things do not foster community. You do not need a real identity, but you need some identity. You need to have a voice, a reputation, a presence to be part of a community, because it is (at least) a two-way propositions. Thus "lurkers," people who only read or listen, are not really part of a community. They may fancy themselves to be, but no one would miss them if they left. They are fans, not friends. Lurkers may latch on to a culture, but they do not contribute to it. (That's why fandom is so eerie: There's usually no real communication between the fans and the stars, just lurkers and fantasies on one side and a PR machine on the other.)
There are two important epistemological questions for Web Science. The first is what properties will future platforms need to have in order to allow as much information as possible to gravitate to the Web without imposing structure or governing theories upon it? One aim of the Web is to facilitate rational discussion of ideas, rather than the sorts of rancorous ad hominem attacks that make up rather too much of what is loosely called debate .
And secondly, the Web has a radically decentralised structure. Given that, of course it can be used frivolously or maliciously. How can we make it more likely rather than less that good science and good epistemology ends up in the Web, and not superstition? Indeed, is that a good thing? By and large, most people behave in good faith with respect to each other in most walks of life. And opinions differ, even in good faith. But there is a constant trickle of evidence that the Web is being used to cement opinions, in polarised political situations , in marginalised groups , and even in terrorist circles [245, 285]. Can we find the best balance between free exchange of opinion and restricting opportunities for deliberate self-marginalisation?