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The trend towards declining activity rates in the OVC

Written by Silveredge

For some time now the general malaise and quietude about the online vampyre communities has been a subject that I have pondered and observed with deep interest... I find myself put in mind of the Roman Empire A.D. 200 - 476; The 19th Century British Empire and the much touted Fall of Communism ~ I am considering a theory that I believe will not find many supporters.

Nevertheless, simply because a thought is, or may be, unpalatable does not mean it should not be given full and earnest consideration.

Modern complex societies remain organized by large inputs of energy to mitigate the natural progression of increasing entropy (disorder), according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a fundamental law of physics. This effectively states that Entropy (disorder) increases with time. As the system becomes more complex, through access to energy, it becomes more susceptible to changes that may occur if one were to remove this source of energy. Take away the energy (fresh information) inputs and organization corrodes, thus society becomes less cohesive and trends toward anarchy.

Bailey (Social Entropy Theory; 1990) defines an "isomorphic complex system" as being comprised of [human] individuals as the components, interaction of these components, and the national/ political/ societal border of the country or society, with the latter serving as a boundary for social interaction. Bailey also included a section titled the "History of Social Entropy", in which he traces the use of thermodynamics and entropy in sociology.

Using these, and other respected references as a base line precept I intend to investigate the matter of social entropy in the OVC. The online communities, surely, qualify as a society ~ albeit a microsociety, in its own right and thus is as susceptible to entropy as any society is.

This will be difficult, in depth and time consuming but I am convinced that there is some basis for a theory I hold regarding the OVC; namely that it is displaying the symptoms of entropy.

Following a discussion I and Lady Moonchild had last eve: We were talking over the matter of social entropy and we were comparing notes upon our observations of activity within the OVC. Perhaps not surprisingly, we found that we were experiencing the same ~ i.e. whereas a year ago we were seeing multiple replies within a day or so of a post being placed in a great many places about the OVC now we were commonly seeing gaps of days or weeks between replies. It was also interesting to note that there was very little "fresh" information or comment being made. The majority of post replies we are seeing now seem confined to short, "chat" type responses rather than discussion replies and in a great many cases the replies were tending to wander away from the original topics.

We were drawn to discussing the eventual end point of a lack of fresh "energy" being input into a social system as dealt with by sociological theories of entropy. I have set up an observational experiment in a number of places around the OVC; preferring to concentrate upon those groups with 600+ members. The experiment is to record, over a period of time, the number of daily visitors unto each place and compare those figures with historical statistics that show the highest number of visitors ever recorded in one day at each of the observation places.

With this information I hope to be able to develop a picture of the suspected decline in activity that can be statistically applied to the OVC in general... who knows, perhaps we shall be able to predict when the OVC will die...! *chuckles darkly*

As described by Bailey, Samuelson and others the eventual end point of entropy is anarchy... let us consider the definition therefore:

an•ar•chy – noun
1. A state of society without government or law.
2. Political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control.
3. A theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society. OR...

an•ar•chism - noun 1. A doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty. Now; the key here seems to be lack of "governmental control" - well, we do not have "governmental control" , per se, in the OVC, so, we have already filled one condition. The second condition would seem to be a pre-requisite to "disorder".

I would argue that we are already seeing disorder. The general lack of viable and "on topic" information and comment; the propensity to treat post threads - in many places - as one line response "chat" threads and the undoubted decline in visitor numbers. It is a sad but unavoidable fact that the only thing that generates input these days is controversy... consider the latest "scandal" or "controversy" that beset the vampyre community ~ this ONE incident saw visitor numbers to certain and various forums increase tenfold for an extremely short period o' time ~ another pointer that indicates disorder is the only input into the social entity at present.

As with any problem the solution can only be deduced if the problem is first recognised, simply put. Is Entropy cyclic?

Consider, if you will, human history... a series of rises and falls. A civilisation arises from "anarchy", social order and government become the course and the civilisation reaches a peak of optimum being. Then, as the maximum complexity is reached a steady but inexorable decline begins... a decline that ends in the dissolution of the society from which point the rise of a successive civilisation is awaited; a never ending cycle of entropy.

As many may know, I have been considering the social form and structure of the OVC (Online Vampyre Community) for some now. I would like to present certain conclusions I have arrived at:

Firstly; A current OVC Structure Model. The groups in Tier 1 (red) are those in the community which are actively and frequently exchanging with 3 or more other groups by virtue of direct communications or interchange/ sharing of members.

The Tier 2 groups (blue) are those who have somewhat less interaction with other goups, perhaps only two others.
The Tier 3 groups (green) are those who have little interchange with other groups and that is mostly restricted unto one other group besides their own.
The Tier 4 groups (grey) are those who rarely have, or never have, contact and exchange with other groups but move in their own orbits.
I know what you are thinking... "Boy, this time he's gone right off his ever-loving-vampy rocker...!"
However, hear (read) me out if you will.

I have been accumulating sets of data and have compiled two sets of early indicators. The first set is built around pure statistical methods to create a standard distribution curve, the frequency of events to date versus the extrapolated frequency of events that are expected. The curve produced by applying the frequency of critical events indicates that the OVC will cease to exist, in the form we know it, some time during 2047.

The second series of data is a much more in depth look at the rates of activity around the OVC over a period of time as compared to the highest levels of activity historically recorded. This is a much more complex and time consuming method and will take a great deal more data to give an accurate figure. However, early indications tend to suggest that the rate of activity in the OVC is dropping by an average of 3.41% per annum, continually. If this trend continues then we could expect a cessation of activity in the OVC; again in its present form, by 2037.

Smack bang in the middle, if you like, is the year 2042.

Is the end nigh? Who knows what might happen in the intervening years... I believe, however, that if some action is not taken to revive and renew then the vicious cycle of social entropy will... eventually, take its toll of the OVC.

Which leads me to my conclusion:

A proposed OVC Spherical Structure Model As can be seen there are no "Tiers". The groups are represented as planar and all bisect a sphere. At the centre of the "sphere" is a hub, or "Collective" of group representatives... not, as I envision it, individuals but rather delegations from houses that come together to form a "United Nations" style arrangement. The "planar" arrangement means that each group has a broad level, or intersecting, of communication with a broader number of other groups (planes)

The ultimate conclusion will only be realised dependant on how many want to see it; how many want to see the OVC remain as a viable social instrument and how many are willing to commit their efforts to lasting and beneficial change.

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