Related to the evaporative cooling effect. Great example of a group limit is Dunbar’s Number

The way to ‘scale intimacy,’ if possible, is to scale horizontally rather than vertically. Create many groups of smaller interest groups (warrens) rather than large groups (plazas). This mitigates negative impacts of context collapse

Side: warrens as a way to be niche at scale

Social Capacity

Is there an inverse relationship between number of social connections and their depth? If you multiply them, do you get a person’s social capacity?

”The amount of social capital you have is pretty fixed,” Dunbar said. “It involves time investment. If you garner connections with more people, you end up distributing your fixed amount of social capital more thinly so the average capital per person is lower.”

Because of the increased number of ‘social connections’ people have today, is context collapse inevitable?

”Yet, when researchers tried to determine whether virtual networks increase our strong ties as well as our weak ones (the ones that Hansen had focussed on), they found that, for now, the essential Dunbar’s Number, a hundred and fifty, has remained constant.” Is the Dunbar number a metric for social capacity?

Does social capacity differ across different types of social interactions? e.g. One-to-one vs One-to-many vs Many-to-many (relevant: digital commons)

“Modern Loneliness” by Lauv covers a lot of similar topics

Related: tribe flourishing, Dunbar’s Number


I feel there are dangers of large groups, especially within research. Larger groups lead to more bureaucracy and being ok with the average — an effect of too many cooks in the kitchen. This leads to ideas that are at the middle of the distribution (Vanilla Ice Cream effect) and tends to discourage more radical, out-of-distribution thinking and research.

Related: a new DARPA, community perception, independent research


Why do we feel the need to find the billion-person version of communities? Is this just the Silicon Valley question of scale?

Is human intimacy scalable? I think not.

What if the events were universally accessible but instead of serving everyone, serve those who opt-in to participate more? Cultivation > moderation

If we remove misaligned incentives and less people come, then tbh that’s better, that eliminates the people you didn’t want in the first place