title: Carrying capacity
## Carrying capacity
This pattern can help project participants recognize and communicate
their stresses to make themselves and the project more resilient.
One of the important maxims from the world of FLOSS is: “Given enough
eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” <span class="citation">\[8\]</span>. A
partial converse is also true: there’s only so much any one person can
do, since we all have limited time and energy.
> ![image](images/antifragility.png) **Antifragility**: each person’s potential can only be realized if people take on enough, but not too much.
> ![image](images/independence.png) **Independence**: in a peeragogy context, it is often impossible to delegate work to others.
How can we help prevent those people who are involved with the project
from over-promising or over-committing, and subsequently crashing and
burning? First, let’s be clear that there are lots of ways things can go
wrong. Simplistic expectations – like *assuming that others will do the
work for you* <span class="citation">\[13\]</span> – can undermine your
ability to correctly gauge your own strengths, weaknesses, and
commitments. Without careful, critical engagement, you might not even
notice when there’s a problem. Where one person has trouble letting go,
others may have trouble speaking up. Pressure builds when communication
isn’t going well.
Serious frustration is a sign that it’s time to revisit the group’s and
your own individual plan. Are these realistic? If you have a “buddy”
they can provide a reality check. Maybe things are not *that hard* after
all – and maybe they don’t need to be done *right now*. Generalizing
from this: the project can promote an open dialog by creating
opportunities for people to share their worries and generate an emergent
plan for addressing them <span class="citation">\[10\]</span>. Use the
project to make note of obstacles. For example, if you’d like to pass a
baton, you’ll need someone there who can take it. Maybe you can’t find
that person right away, but you can bring up the concern and get it onto
the project’s . The situation is always changing, but if we continue to
create suitable checkpoints and benchmarks, then we can take steps to
take care of an issue that’s getting bogged down.
Think of the project as an ecosystem populated by acts of participation.
As we get to know more about ourselves and each other, we know what
sorts of things we can expect, and we are able to work together more
sustainably <span class="citation">\[6\]</span>. We moderate stress and
improve collective outcomes by taking concerns seriously.
Guiding and rebalancing behavior in a social context can begin with
speaking up about a concern. When we acknowledge concerns, we must take
into account our own boundedness. We have find an opportunity to make
ourselves helpful, without impinging on others’ **independence**. This
doesn’t mean allowing all possible stresses to run rampant: we work to
stay within the realm of **antifragility**, where manageable stress
*improves* the system rather than degrading it <span
class="citation">\[12\]</span>. As we share concerns and are met with
care and practical support, our actions begin to align better with
expectations (often as a result of forming more realistic expectations).
### Example 1
Wikipedia aims to emphasize a neutral point of view, but its users are
topics that matter to them.[^fn2]
and participation are not neutral in another less sanguine sense. More
information on Wikipedia deals with Europe than all of the locations
outside of Europe <span class="citation">\[2\]</span>. As we remarked in
the pattern, most of the actual work is contributed by a small
percentage of users. The technology limits the kinds of things that can
be said <span class="citation">\[2\]</span>. The total number of active
editors has been falling since 2007.[^fn3]
Some blame outmoded technology and an insider culture <span
class="citation">\[11\]</span>, or a stringent editorial approach that
emerged in response to the site’s popularity <span
class="citation">\[3\]</span>. Others highlight the rise of successful
competition, often inspired by wiki models, but driven by “corporate
logic” <span class="citation">\[4,5\]</span>. Some proposed solutions
focus on various indicators of “community health.”[^fn4]
### Example 2
Progressive thinkers have for some time subscribed to the view that
“there shall be no women in case there be not men, nor men in case there
be not women” <span class="citation">\[7\]</span>. A separate Ladies
Hall seems entirely archaic. However, in light
of the extreme gender imbalance in free software, and still striking
imbalance at Wikipedia <span class="citation">\[1,9\]</span>, it will be
important to do whatever it takes to make women and girls welcome, not
least because this is a significant factor in boosting our .
*Ladies Hall: Queens College, North Carolina.*
### What’s Next in the Peeragogy Project
Making it easy and fruitful for others to get involved is one of the
best ways to redistribute the load. This often requires knowledge
transfer and skill development among those involved; see .
1. Rishab A. Ghosh, Ruediger Glott, Bernhard Krieger, and Gregorio Robles. 2002. *Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and Study*. International Institute of Infonomics, University of Maastricht.
2. Mark Graham, Bernie Hogan, Ralph K Straumann, and Ahmed Medhat. 2014. Uneven geographies of user-generated information: Patterns of increasing informational poverty. *Annals of the Association of American Geographers* 104, 4: 746–764.
3. Aaron Halfaker, R. Stuart Geiger, Jonathan Morgan, and John Riedl. 2013. The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia’s reaction to sudden popularity is causing its decline. *American Behavioral Scientist* 57, 5: 664–688. <http://doi.org/10.1177/0002764212469365>
4. Daniel Kreiss, Megan Finn, and Fred Turner. 2011. The limits of peer production: Some reminders from Max Weber for the network society. *New Media & Society* 13, 2: 243–259.
5. Mayo Fuster Morell. 2011. An introductory historical contextualization of online creation communities for the building of digital commons: The emergence of a free culture movement. *Proceedings of the 6th Open Knowledge Conference*. Retrieved from <http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-739/paper_7.pdf>
6. Elinor Ostrom. 2010. Revising theory in light of experimental findings. *Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization* 73, 1: 68–72.
7. François Rabelais. \[1534\] 1894. *Gargantua and pantagruel*. Moray Press.
8. Eric S Raymond. 2001. *The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and open source by an accidental revolutionary*. O’Reilly Media, Inc.
9. Joseph Reagle. 2012. “Free as in sexist?” Free culture and the gender gap. *First Monday* 18, 1. Retrieved from <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4291>
10. Jaakko Seikkula and Tom Erik Arnkil. 2006. *Dialogical meetings in social networks*. Karnac Books.
11. Tom Simonite. 2013. The Decline of Wikipedia. *Technology Review* 116, 6: 50–56.
12. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 2012. *Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder*. Random House Incorporated.
13. Linus Torvalds and Steven Vaughan-Nichols. 2011. Linus Torvalds’s Lessons on Software Development Management. *Input Output*. Retrieved from <http://web.archive.org/web/20131021211847/http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440>