On the Design of Collective Applications
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In this paper we define collective applications as those that employ the aggregated distinct behaviours of individuals in a crowd to shape their environment and to provide structure and influence in that environment. Such behaviour can be seen in most systems that aggregate user-generated content, whether or not that is the intention of the designers or contributors. We identify the necessary features of such applications and observe that they pose a particularly wicked set of design problems, because important characteristics of the system, including processing and presentation, reside outside the program in the behaviour of the crowd itself. We suggest some approaches to dealing with these problems.