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Anybody have a better word for this concept?
Back from Pennsic, and back at work. I'm spending this week on a variety of smaller enhancements and bugfixes that have been rankling me for a while.

One of them is kind of entertaining. I've been saying for a long time that Querki Is Not A Social Network, and I still mean that: between FB, G+, LJ, Twitter and so on, there are more than enough social networks out there, and I would rather that Querki work *with* those existing networks instead of trying to duplicate their functionality. Frankly, I've long been annoyed at the trend for every freaking service to create its own little special-snowflake "social network": social networks are an underlying infrastructure that should be widely shared.

(Yes, the big names are annoyingly commercial, evil and privacy-violating. One problem at a time -- the principle is correct, but we need some more disruption in the social-network space. But I digress...)

The thing is, though, I've started to realize that Querki *does* have its own "social network", just one that is very different from the big players. This is the network of shared acquaintance through shared Spaces. That is, if you and I are both in Space Foobar, that is a non-trivial connection. More importantly, Querki should make it easy for me to invite you to join one of *my* Spaces, similarly to how I would do with a Facebook friend or something like that. It's essentially an *implicit* social network, more like the one that exists in Facebook Groups than the actual FB friendlist.

I'm implementing the first draft of that now (frankly, I'm tired of having to look up peoples' email addresses over and over), but I'm trying to find the right term for this relationship. "Friend" is too strong -- this network is defined as "People I share Spaces with", and many of those aren't really "friends". But "Acquaintance" is kind of bloodless. (And has too many syllables.)

Any suggestions?

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... that is a fascinatingly literal interpretation. I'm going to have to chew on it carefully: if I go down that road, it has all *sorts* of memetic implications. Thanks!

Spacemates (which sounds weirdly chess-like to me) might be more in line with Querki terminology, but I really like roomies.

*Lovely* word, that I don't think I've ever seen used as online jargon. Not sure what the singular would be, though...

A cohort is a group of people who share a common characteristic (in this case, membership in a space). I'm mostly familiar from the term from some scientific studies, rather than online jargon. There has been some usage of cohort to mean a member of a cohort, though there are language prescriptivists that turn their nose up at such usage. This is further reinforced in studies that want to single out a person, and describe them, for example, in relation to their "age related cohorts." So, it would be, I think, correct to refer to the relationship between space members as that of cohort or cohorts.

Intriguing -- I'll consider that. Thanks!

Cohorts are also used in Middle Grades education to create a larger social group bridging the gap between the single classroom dynamic of elementary school and the complete free-for-all that is High School/College. A Cohort in Massachusetts will typically consist of one teacher from each of the core Academic Classes: Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Also called Houses, Clusters, etc.

Hmm. Possible, and certainly literally correct. I'm a little worried that the CRM business has poisoned the word with too-specific (business-centric) connotations for too many people, but it's worth considering. Thanks!

Good suggestion -- a couple more syllables than I prefer for user-facing terms, but nicely precise and correct without jargon. *Certainly* better than Acquaintance. Thanks!

Part of me suspects that the connotations are wrong for too many people, but a good word -- thanks!

It seems that perhaps more than one term would be viable for differing specific circumstances. Perhaps the users themselves could collaborate on selecting conditional terms for themselves and each other from a list?

Possibly at some point, but mind-boggling overkill at this point -- for now, I'm just looking for which word to put in the message, "Choose which [Collective Noun]s you would like to invite to this Space". Internally (where it gets used far, far more) I've gone with Collaborator, and for now I'm using that in the public UI, but I'm not considering that hard-and-fast yet.

I appreciate the spirit of the suggestion, but it's basically gold-plating. First I've got to get the thing working adequately, before I deal with the hundreds of ways to make it cooler...

Understood. It felt disingenuous not to mention the thought.

Intriguing: while I'm leaning towards Collaborator at the moment, this is nicely two-syllable. Thanks!

I think the connotation is slightly off -- it suggests someone who occupies an *adjacent* Space, rather than sharing the same one. Interesting idea for me to keep in mind in the longer run, though: wouldn't surprise me if we come up with a circumstance where that is the right term. (Especially as App Communities start to come into being next year.) Thanks!

Partner. You might even borrow some workplace jargon and have junior partners and silent partners.

Interesting and possible...

A pretty well understood concept in the physical world, like any good metaphor.

And suggested earlier, naturally.

Edited at 2014-09-02 08:49 pm (UTC)

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