Sharing my experiences as a community builder and math student.
This is my versy first comment/post on the EA forum, so feedback is very appreciated. :)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the google study. When going through the google study, I followed a link to this TEDx talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhoLuui9gX8) by Amy Edmondson about building a psychologically safe workplace.
At min 10:17 she mentions something that I found particularly interesting. She describes two different dimensions - psychological safety and motivation&accountability - and distinguishes 4 different zones: an apathy zone where both dimensions are low, a comfort zone with high psychological safety but low motivation/accountability, an anxiety zone with low pschological safety and high motivation/accountability and an (optimal) learning zone where both dimensions are high.
I resonated with the idea of these 4 different zones and could imagine that the phenomenon you described at the very beginning of the post (grat vibe, people slacking off on the reading) might be a group tending towards the comfort zone.