Reverse Network Effects

As online networks grow to a size never seen before, many question their sustainability and believe that they are becoming too large to be useful. wired

On most networks, value for users is created through more than one of these three sources. Facebook, for example, started with a value proposition centered around connection, but the introduction of the news feed has made content a central driver of value. In recent times, the addition of the subscribers feature has added clout for some Facebook users as well.

However, as networks scale, the value for users may drop for several reasons:

Connection: New users joining the online community may lower the quality of interactions and increase noise/spam through unsolicited connection requests.

Content: The network may fail to manage the abundance of content created on it and may fail to scale the curation of content created and the personalization of the content served to users.

Clout: The network may get inadvertently biased towards early users and promote them over users who join later.


We have yet to throw gasoline on the federated wiki fire so it is hard to think in terms of reverse network effects. But we may have dodged the negative effects described here by being more aloof and hope we can still reach a critical mass this way.