Alexis principle

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The Alexis principle is a guideline for administration of a web community. It submits that a diverse community of web users will flourish if it is allowed to discipline itself, and administration only intervenes when truly necessary.

The concept developed from discussion on the internal message board of the Free Spirits Committee and on MetaBoyChat in 1997 and 1998. Alexis observed that BoyChat enjoyed a vigorous period of growth during the tenure of Sean007 and attributed much of the vigor to the organic community building facilitated by a mostly absent landlord.

His position, which became known as the Alexis Principle, is that management on BoyChat ought to be as invisible as possible. In his view, BoyChat would be at its most vigorous and most useful if the community itself set the standards by which it would operate.

Of course he recognized that there were certain areas that could not be governed by peer forces alone. However, he did believe (during a period when there were more posters on BoyChat than there are today) that peer forces alone could and would be effective in creating equilibrium if posters did not believe they had an avenue of appeal to management in resolving common disputes.

In his considerably professional and formally educated opinion, communities that develop and govern themselves organically tend to thrive while those that are artificially directed don't fare as well.

See also