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Why not a "Cat Herder"?

Multiple people pointed out that a lot (but not all Spaces) have one person designated as the “cat herder”, community manager responsible for the legal standing of the Space, remembering about the bills, handling sponsors and making sure the events do happen. This person also tries to resolve all dramas and keep the communication standards high. One of notable examples in real Spaces may be Mitch Altman of Noisebridge.


  • Cat Herder represents a real archetype existing in some of the spaces
  • Such a character creates a good reference point for others' communication skills and often very subjective points


  • The magical “communication skills” of the Cat Herder make them really hard to fit into a good story. Suddenly we have a character who is supposed to be objective / above petty squalls (which can be subverted)
  • If the Cat Herder doesn't care for the consensus as much and clearly has their own agenda, the whole conflict may resolve into fascism / anarchy which has already destroyed a lot of Spaces
  • This character would be often seen as the leader / arbiter of the space, someone other people go to to resolve conflict, therefore has “the purest” values. A lot of diversity of viewpoints may die this way.

Possible resolutions:

Glider had its Cat Herder, but they're gone

Some of the story drafts actually start with the Cat Herder / Negotiator leaving the Space one way or another. Other characters are trying to find a new, dynamic balance

There is no single Cat Herder

With multiple characters at least three of them would like to see themselves as community managers: Adam, Robert and Amanda. Each of them has their own skills, strengths and agendas:

  • Amanda has a lot of experience gettings things done in the anarchist squat, which required directing people without bossing them outright. She's one of the people most often seen in Glider and isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty by doing most of the maintenance stuff herself. She usually assumes other people are sensible and will help in the tasks, which is not always the case. Additionally, not everyone likes her strong feminist views and the fact that she doesn't program, which earn her a lot of disrespect from the basement dwellers.
  • Robert is one of the founders of the Glider and its current president. He fulfills many of the Community Manager's roles, such as paying the bills and handling the legal stuff. He has no problems playing the father figure to the hackers, and considers his word in every argument to be the last. However, since he started focusing on his family and found a corporate job he can be seen in the Glider quite infrequently, stalling a lot of decisions and losing his previous standing. A lot of people accuse him of selling out his dreams and choosing a stable life over Glider.
  • Adam is really charismatic and can easily inspire and encourage people the way neither Amanda or Robert can. He is the public face of the Glider to the media, public and the activists world. He juggles too many projects, usually not having time for any of them. He's quite unreliable when actually delivering something. What may be the most problematic, his loose tongue tends to be a problem when he accidentally takes credit for someone else's work.
characters/archetypes/cat_herder.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/26 15:09 by alxd