- "Because daily life remains largely outside the jurisdiction of [corporate]-supported legal institutions, social preferences, local norms, individual reputation, and group affiliation are the main forces that govern social [interactions].
- Because of the [meritocratic] system, shared group affiliation is an especially strong cue associated with reciprocity and reputation.
- [Projects] have a long history of conflict with each other, which suggests that ancestral conditions may have been particularly favorable for cultural group selection."
Here's another slightly edited excerpt, albeit abridged for brevity to turn several pages into a few "bare essentials" paragraphs:
"Accountable reciprocity [..] brings about new forms of cooperation, and calls for new ways to manage conflict. The most fundamental result of accountable reciprocity is a reduction in individual autonomy. Membership in groups becomes a central feature [..] This calls for more complex forms of political organization in order to manage the group's resources. At first, leaders have little power; their main role is to limit conflicts, given that people can not [easily create and sustain forks] when problems arise.
Because [projects] control the product of their labour, and because community membership is stable, it becomes possible to invest in more complex forms of organization. As people try to protect and enhance their own interests, they are motivated to bring about new regularities from which they expect to benefit. For instance [..] it becomes important to develop strategies to manage membership. In so far as communities keep people together, it becomes imperative to manage conflict in order to prevent community fragmentation. [This] can be realized in a huge variety of ways, which is the reason for the variability of middle-[sized communities]. Gender roles may be more or less contrasted; [seniority] differences may be more or less hierarchical; leadership may be diffuse or concentrated, more or less inclusive.
Greater complexification is possible only by constructing structures beyond the [individual projects, and this is accompanied by] a continuum of increasing marginalization, whereby an increasing proportion of the population plays a minor role in decision making. [(Coverage of some posible strategies omitted.)] These communities are the precursors of complex [aggregations], in which several communities are integrated into a [single entity].
Strong [project teams], stable local groups, and some form of local leadership emerge from accountable reciprocity. They are the backdrop for other social structures that may become salient in middle-range [communitites]. [..] Because social stratification derives from political practice, it is at least in part a consequence of conscious choices; social actors are in a position to select alternatives on the basis of their perceived self-interest and their power."
I reflected on the state of Free software communities when reading the above along with their context. It all seemed insightful and relevant to the dynamics we experience. Where did these quotes come from, and what were they getting at? That's tomorrow's blog ...