I received several e-mails aghast that I’d advocate gossip within communities.
Yet gossip (exchanging views/opinions not supported by provable facts) accounts for a majority of the conversations we have.
Gossip doesn’t have to be negative, neither. Positive gossip can be as prevalent as negative gossip. It’s just human nature to focus on the negative more than the positive. Negative gossip is also an effective social punishment for devious behaviour. Is it worse to be kicked from a forum or have people dislike you?
But that’s not the main point. Gossip does account for the majority of conversations that we have. It makes sense to encourage it. It brings more people to your community, it stimulates interactions, it brings the social norms of the real world into your community.
Gossip, for lack of a better word, is good.
Don’t try to create a utopian community. Create a practical community based upon what people do in real life. It’s far easier to build a community that benefits from human behaviour than a community that tries to change human behaviour.