Building Social Software for the Anti-Social

In November, I delivered the keynote presentation at Øredev 2011. It was the second and probably final presentation in the series I call Building Social Software for the Anti-Social.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Jeff, you’re using the term anti-social wrongly. What you mean by anti-social is called asocial. Anti-socials are by definition people with an anti-social personality disorder. Folks like Nazis, notoric criminals, etc.

From Wikipedia:

In common English vernacular; anti-social is often used to describe those perceived to be excessively introverted, an incorrect though increasingly common usage. The correct term for an introverted person who is “not social” would be asocial; asocial means “avoidance of society” while antisocial means “hostile toward society”.

Though “asocial” may be correct, I think “anti-social” is commonly misunderstood and will continue to be used as such.

Regarding the 10 building blocks, I enjoyed this one the best:
“All modern website design is game design.”

Gamification is coming. The big question is this:
“When and how will gamification be applied to government?”

Building a social network for sociopaths!?!? My first thought was Dr. Horrible’s league of super villains. I love the whiteboard presentation concept. I saw this in a TED talk. It’s a great way to keep the audience focused on complex topics.

A great read on the anti-social set:

I’m re-live sand-art visualizing this

Hello, Jeff!

Great presentations! Too big, however. OTOH the ImageThink drawings summarize them well - this idea was great.

Also, yes, StackOverflow is my Counter Strike. I was never a gamer but I became addicted to SO!

Congratulations for your success! And thanks for such a great environment.

@Contact Screw you! (by that I mean ‘rotate yourself about an axis!’, instead of the commonly, but wrongly, used ‘less offensive fu*k you’ meaning)

I also liked the bullet point “All modern website design is game design”. Do you have another post elaborating more on this or any books or blogs you’d recommend?


Hello, Jeff!

Any chance there will be a video of your presentations?

The slides are fun, but baffling in places. Videos would be great, for sure, but if there’s no video, what are the chances of enhancing the slides with some audio or some captions?

Seems like someone does not understand the difference between “homonym” and “wrong usage”.

The slides are pretty worthless without the narrative. Please make the effort to record or at least transcribe the narrative if you really want your ideas propagated beyond your current choir.

Your ideas sounds interesting, but without the narrative they are not accessible.

The one common theme here, and frankly, in most social network site strategies, is ‘ego’. By specifically playing to your users’ vanity as well as other group social queues, StackExchange exploits baser needs and desires that are far more compelling than the more traditional target of financial compensation. This current trend of MMORPGs, and the game-ification of previously more mundane tasks is more about positive reinforcement through ego enhancement than it is about entertainment. If a ‘player’ does something well, reward them highly in front of their peers, and if they fail or operate outside of social custom, shame them so they don’t repeat the mistake. Sites like Facebook don’t offer much in explicit functionality to support this behavior (aside from Liking or de-friending/relationship statuses), however users will and do develop their own systems of group dynamics regulation. StackExchange, on the other hand, has features designed to directly regulate social standing (Up/down voting, ribbons, superlatives, etc). This helps quickly materialize a social structure which can then easily tag content at various degrees of authority (at least as far as the community is currently concerned).

Yes, I too vote for audio track to along w/ the slides. Otherwise, great post, thank you!

All presentations from Øredev 2011 will be published on their site as it has been the last years. Just nag a bit on them so they hurry up :-).

Fun: more on the anti-social network:

@A Facebook User

I second that, I do nothing but read SO because it seems way to strict, and all of the ‘meta’ discussion of it leaves me with a feeling like I can’t post to it, lest my post be scrutinized as to whether it’s on-topic, off-topic, not on-topic enough, similar to a question asked previously months ago, is this a useful question? is this a stupid question? is it properly formatted? was enough effort put in composing the question? is the question to broad? is it too “RFTM”? is the question too opinion based? is the question irrelevant?

Sometimes i just want to ask a question without having to worry if it is worthy enough to be answered by the lords of Stack Exchange, & all of it’s over enforced rules.

I disagree with the criticisms of Stack Overflow. First concerning the “game required to get a login and password” - the great thing about sites like SO that use OpenID is that you don’t need (yet another) login/password to remember in addition to the hundreds you already have for other sites - you just click a button. I’m not sure how it gets more simple.

Concerning the strict standards for posts, that is what makes SO a great resource - you don’t need to spend time as you do on typical forums sifting through the garbage until you find something actually relevant and informative.

Regarding the “game” to get on stack overflow, when I read that I was curious just how hard it was. I was able to create an account directly on SO using my email address (and clearly I could have used a fake one if that was important).

You have some great slides there, Jeff. In particulat, the stuffed bear in the tutor room is great (if nowhere near the main point of your talk).

I wonder, though. You explain how you designed the game with a certain expected user group in mind (see graphical slides in part 1). However, this has changed. Nowadays, Stackexchange hosts sites for humanities experts, chefs, athletes and so on. The question is: have you changed the game accordingly? If not, was this a conscious decision?

In particular, the first problem with starting a non-techy SE is getting it through area51 if your target group is not online and comfortable with web apps per se.