Humans will split off into groups in most situations, and here we can define a group as any more than one person. Two person groups, or dyads, are the building blocks of larger groups. We pair off because of similarities and relatability, and we pair off because of differences fulfilling opposite sides of a series of needs. We can couple up with the cashier briefly as checking out at the grocer, or with a mate we've chosen for the rest of our lives.
Three-and-four-person groups (triads & tetrads) are far less common, as in each case two of these folks are much more likely to pair off on their own, leaving the remainder to figure something out for themselves. Odd-numbered slightly larger groups tend to fare better than even-number counterparts due to formal or informal decision-making being a lot smoother when dealing with a tie-breaker. You can't split an odd number of people down the middle can you?
When we get into larger groups, we see the number of one-on-one bonds possible within that group increase rapidly. A group of four contains six possible pairings while a group of five contains ten, and a group of twelve has a staggering 66. These individual bonds formed within the group can make it stronger, but at some point we'll see the need arise for leadership. Cooperation must occur, goals must be set, and tasks & roles need to be straightened out so everyone isn't trying to do the same job at the same time. While the many voices now joining this large group bring a diverse array of information and solutions, they also tend to muddy up the communication waters and take more time to solve issues. Big ships turn slowly, and unmitigated groups rarely breach the heft of about 150 members.
Having also served a few terms in executive roles, I've been on the board of directors for the US Bartenders' Guild for five years as I write this, and from my time I've learned the value of a strong governance model and well-oiled organizational structure. Our board of directors is nine people, by the way, which for us is at the moment the largest odd-number we can be without acquiring a terminal sluggishness when making decisions. Groups seem over the course of time to adapt their numbers to the most fitting size, and I think we've been emulating this in the wild with regards to digital spaces without realizing we're doing it.
NFT-centric internet groups are largely unmitigated, and rarely get above 150 active members (potentially per sub-group). We can see this by visiting even the most popular NFT-themed servers to find about that number participants in the best scenarios before they begin to break off into trait or interest-based sub groups. There are always two-person relationships that occur via direct message or text, and small groups that section off to accomplish tasks within the larger group either in the form of twitter chats or segregated channels within the server.
In the main or general chat of any discord server that has a reasonably large following, there must be moderation. Either the team will take turns keeping the discussions and interactions moving properly or they'll hire moderators to do specifically that. In the world of NFTs this can be a really good problem to have, but we ought to think about why the participants are there in the first place. For every 10k collection there might be 2.5k actual holders, and from those 2.5k, 1.5k of them might just be silent collectors. So a 10k pfp collection might have 1k members of varying levels of activity and with varying types of bonds with one another.
I don't think most projects have over 150 truly active members, and I'd be willing to bet that most of the remainder of the holdings are just waiting to be flipped, or sold at a higher price than they were purchased. The dynamics this implies for future collections warrants quite a bit of foresight, as those investors waiting in the wings to re-sell their pieces may be an integral part of the mechanism adding value to the assets/collectibles to begin with.
As we see a digital landscape unfold in front of us in the coming years, we're bound to see these dynamics shift to accommodate the new demands of holders, motivations of leaders, preferences of artists, and regulatory structures of lawmakers around the globe. We can change the way we facilitate community, but we can't take the inherent humanity out of community.
We're messy, fussy creatures but brilliant and efficient when organized well.
Thanks to Bankless DAO for the ongoing support.
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