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You have probably seen this term before, but I like it because it really captures the difference between those systems that work well and those that don’t. Cascade systems are those that rely on the user (for example, a user-facing site) to tell the system what is going on. That way, the system knows to make corrections and updates that help keep the site running smoothly and efficiently. The same system, in turn, uses this information to control the user’s behavior.
Cascade systems are a concept that is often used in the context of email and web-based communication, but they are also a concept that can be applied to almost any online system that supports multiple roles. For example, Twitter lets you log in as a member, read tweets as a member, or write Tweets as a member. In the same way, you can log in to a Facebook account, read your updates as a member, or write your updates as a member.
Cascade systems allow you to have multiple roles on a single system, and the only requirement is that you have to be able to log in as each role. So if you want to write a blog post as a member, it doesn’t really matter what role you’re a member of. Similarly, if you want to write a blog post as a user or to read a post as a user, you can use the same account that you’ve used to write the post.
Cascade systems are great for privacy. If you don’t want anyone to be able to read your posts, or your updates as a user, you can use the same login for both roles. If you use the same login for both roles, then no one will be able to read your posts, or your updates as a member.