interact”,4 the tool is meant to better adapt to the reality of social interactions, not the
other way around. Indeed, we believe that, without addressing relationships between
people, online communities are left with an unmet potential and with an equally unmet
Adding a layer of trust, interdependence and reciprocity on the
Inspired by close-knit communities and by complex adaptive systems,5 the proposal is to
add a layer of social trust, interdependence and reciprocity on the Web with no central
control and with simple rules of operation. First, by interconnecting a multitude of
human-sized communities, people are more likely to be part of a strong social fabric.
Social trust is therefore more likely to remain strong enough for engagement to occur.
Second, assuming that bad reputation repels and that good reputation attracts, the IoC
aims to explore how collective reputation can be used as a catalyst to regulate social
interactions. Indeed, if reputational interests are intertwined, a collective reputation
mechanism could act as a systematic incentive to inhibit behaviors that are detrimental
to the collective reputational asset, and to foster those that are beneficial to the group.
Third, confined to small networks and tied by shared responsibilities, users will have to
remain attractive to their peers. As a result, there is a strong incentive to anchor
relationships in reciprocity, fairness and excellence. In that scheme, influence and
leadership are more likely to shift to those who positively impact their communities, to
those who lead by example, and to those who reciprocate with fairness. The desired
output of the IoC is to facilitate the free association of people for common purposes. The
method is to immerse social interactions in trust, interdependence and reciprocity. The
main distinctive features of the Internet of Communities are:
1. human-sized networks nested in a continuum of trust
2. interdependence expressed by collective reputation
3. leadership anchored in reciprocity (emergent property)
Kathryn Porter, et al., Effects of Social Media Use on Relationship Satisfaction, Chapman University, online pdf.
A complex adaptive system is defined as “a system in which large networks of components with no central control
and simple rules of operation give rise to complex collective behavior, sophisticated information processing, and
adaptation via learning or evolution”. Melanie Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour, Oxford University Press, Sep
Meoh ASBL, BE 0599.986.669. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License, Jan 2017.