The 150 Community Member Limit

What is the reasoning behind the 150 member limit for the Circles in Time community?

Background Context

As some of you will be familiar with by now, one of the core principles of the Circles in Time philosophy is that we prioritise sustainable stable states over perpetual optimisation. We don’t play to win, but rather to keep playing.

Directional paths, trajectories, event-based goals, milestones and target outcomes are useful insofar as they allow us to move towards and then maintain sustainable steady states, that are optimal and adaptive given the particular physical, social and psychological constraints that are present at the time.

Take exercise for example. The ultimate goal isn’t running a particular time in your next marathon or perpetually driving down your heart rate. The ultimate goal is to get to a level of physical fitness that you happy maintaining, however, that might be measured. In that sense, achieving a particular outcome isn’t the end, it is the start.

Applying this principle to the Circles in Time Community:

The stable-state we are seeking with regards to the Circles in Time community size is 150 active members. Why?

The community’s mission is not one of endless growth. The mission is to build a community of engaged members with strong ties and experience cooperating with one another.

The kind of member-to-member engagement and cooperation that we are aspiring to achieve becomes difficult to maintain beyond a certain point. That point is 150 members. There is an interesting theory from evolutionary biology that can help us understand why this threshold exists.

The theory is called Dunbar’s Number, and it holds that the maximum number of stable relationships that an individual can sustainably maintain is 150, after which connections start to whither and breakdown.

Of course, this may differ within a modern digital context. The stable state may be slightly smaller or slightly larger, but using Dunbar’s Number as our ‘prior’ seems like a solid base rate to start off with.

What happens when the community reaches 150 members?

Once we reach the 150 member limit, potential new members will apply and join a waiting list. When an existing member leaves, they will nominate one of the applicants to take their place. If no nomination occurs, a new member will be selected according to a set of predetermined criteria relating to function and community fit.

If you a member or potential member, I would love to know your views on this. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you would like to join the community, you can sign up and get one-month free access to the community platform and see if space is a good fit for you.