Cover by Joel Spolsky

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Clay ShirkyGROUP AS USER: FLAMINGAND THE DESIGN OFSOCIAL SOFTWARE1

Moments after announcing the need to study the sociology of human-to-human, computer-mediated software, Clay Shirky brilliantly gets busy, drilling down into the specific phenomenon of flaming, reminiscent of the great ethnographies of yore, more like Margaret Mead's studies of the sexual habits of Pacific Islanders than a typical software paper.2 – Ed.

When we hear the word "software," most of us think of things like Word, PowerPoint, or Photoshop, tools for individual users. These tools treat the computer as a box, a self-contained environment in which the user does things. Much of the current literature and practice of software design—feature requirements, UI design, usability ...

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