Like Jason, I was impressed by Clay Shirky's analysis of the LiveJournal community. Especially his findings about groups of 12 and how they allow people to have a satisfying experience. Since then, I've been noticing groups of twelve. Maybe it's a natural way to organize. I tried to come up with a list of famous 12's.
  1. 12 apostles in Christianity
  2. 12 causes of samsara in Buddhism
  3. 12 tribes of Israel in Judaism
  4. 12 people on a jury
  5. 12 months in a year
  6. 12 signs in the zodiac
  7. 12 original American colonies (ok, 13 if you count Delaware)
  8. 12 days of Christmas
  9. 12 tone musical scale
  10. 12-sided snow crystal
  11. 12 immortals in Greek Mythology
  12. 12 beers in a 12-pack
Yeah, so it was tough coming up with 12 groups of 12. But I think there's something to the idea that a group of 12 is easily divisible into smaller groups, yet maintains the identity of the whole.

Now the question is, how do you build community software that accommodates groups of 12, and encourages that equilibrium point? And how can the whole community scale (another great article on the subject by Clay Shirky) without loosing their individual group identities?

Are there other famous 12s?

Comments

Don't forget the twelve-step program -- the ultimate encouragement of equilibrium.
12 inches in a foot
Also 24 hours in a day, which is 12 x 2. But I'm not sure that counts.
I always thought it was curious that the counting songs on Sesame Street went up to 12 (instead of, say, 10).

Also, most blues songs are based on a 12-bar progression.

Hercules faced 12 trials.

There may have been 13 colonies in America, but there were 12 on Battlestar Galactica.
I think Sesame Street counted to twelve because the words "eleven" and "twelve" don't follow any sort of pattern. After 12 it's all "teen" this and "number-prefix" that...you can learn all of the numbers by learning the patterns. But you have to learn eleven and twelve by special memorization. Why isn't it "oneteen" and "twoteen?" Why have special words for the numbers past ten? Everything else is based on sets of ten.
pb, you forgot the one thing many people spent the early parts of their lives with: 12-sided die
how could I forget? I spent a little too much time with a 12-sided die. (It's called a dodecahedron.)
Also, 12 Knights of the Round Table and 12 main branches of the Indo-European language family! Man, I'm such a nerd.
i may be a little late to the game but let's not forget the dirty dozen...
Thanks! Those are some good twelves.

(I'm mostly posting to add another one to the comment count. I think it would be fitting to have 12 comments for this thread.)
12 gates in heaven
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