Here’s the fortune cookie:
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
— Sam Brown, “The Washington Post”, January 26, 1977
As for the interesting bit: Architecture is politics: community building and the success of Wikipedia.
I found this post (by Michael Nielsen) quite interesting, but maybe not for the reason people normally would: I just thought the “thesis” of this post was something well known. What I mean is the following: a framework like Wiki, Zope/Plone, Drupal, etc, they all have different modus operandi, i.e., they were all designed to harness the power of the collective in slightly different ways. That means that each of these designs follows a different “policy” of community building; while some may think that every single user should have the same “weight”, some may adopt the policy of ‘roles’, where different groups of users have different tasks within the community.
This is not a judgement of value of these different frameworks. However, each of them imply certain “choices” that were made with a given “community building ideal” in mind. So, in this sense, it seems clear to me that the particular architecture of the software used should reflect the “politics” behind it.
But, maybe this is clearer to me because of all those years listening to RMS…😉
This piece at Slate may have something to add to this discussion: The Wisdom of the Chaperones: Digg, Wikipedia, and the myth of Web 2.0 democracy.