Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
"You cannot have a truly distributed creative system without there being open channels between (all) nodes." So wrote John Hopkins on the idc list. This caught my attention as being wrong (but interestingly so), prompting me to write a post on a truly distributed creative system. Immediately after finishing that post, I read Artichoke's lament that "it was disconcerting to read through the 427 Ulearn07 Hitchhkr links and find so little analysis and so much flocking sentiment." Why was this, I wondered? Artichoke linked to Josie Fraser, who wrote about homophily, the idea that "similarity breeds connection." With the structure of networks fresh in my mind, I wrote a post on homophily and association, arguing that this is just one of four ways networks get created (the other three are proximity, back-propagation, and Boltzmann connectivity). Moreover, it is one of two group-forming mechanisms, based as it is on similarity and identity. Groups are characterized by emotional attachment to an idea or cause. Hence the 'me too' posts, as posts consisting of statements of loyalty to the group will be most valued by the group. And when you define the similarities narrowly, the members of the group have nothing to say at each other(other than to chant the slogans back and forth).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2023 05:58 a.m.

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