Friday, May 26, 2006

Founding Myth and reality

Nick Carr attacked the feasibility of the founding myth of wikipedia others treat it as if it was an attack on wikipedia itself

Can we every have a massive collaborative movement without basing it on a myth? Could wikipedia be successful if it started with a thoroughly thought over policy of balance between openness and closedness instead of the myth of 'encyclopedia that everyone edits'? Would we have The French Revolution if people knew all the consequences that became evident after Thermidor the 9th?

Update: Re: [ox-en] Re: Business opportuities based on Free Software - another critisism of wikipedia.
Update: The Law of Focus - marketing says that you need to craft your message to fit as few words as possible


Composing said...

Well, Wales keeps saying, before there was wikipedia he made another attempt to build a web-pedia, which had more professional balance between openness and closedness. And it was a flop.

I'm not sure if the success of wikipedia was because of a "myth" of openness that inspired a lot of people. Or because of the "reality" of how open it actually was which reduced the barriers of entry for contributions.

Shirky has been thinking carefully about this for a long time, and I think this quote is on the money :

"Openness allows for innovation. Innovation creates value. Value creates incentive. If that were all there was, it would be a virtuous circle, because the incentive would be to create more value. But incentive is value-neutral, so it also creates distortions — free riders, attempts to protect value by stifling competition, and so on. And distortions threaten openess."

There's a dynamic life-cycle. At the beginning it's all about removing barriers to entry. Otherwise it never gets off the ground. But then later, as you attract more malcontents you need to protect the integrity of what you've built.

I'm not sure the French Revolution falls exactly into that category, though.

BTW : if you want to know how luddite Nick Carr can really get, listen to the podcast interview with him on AfterTV :

zby said...

But do you think it would inspire people if Wales said: 'At the beginning it will be open, but than we shall close it'? or 'At the beginning everyone will be able to write it, but then only those that that have accounts older than 4 days and only in articles that are not ... and only ...'?

Anonymous said...

We need a myth to cooperate, every nation, society or group of people. Myth helps to integrate and smoothes cooperation.

zby said...

The founding myths of nations are set in the past - so they don't constraint the present too much, they show a way, but don't dictate. They tell stories and embed the values in them thus provide a platform for negotiation of the meaning of those values.

Hmm - what is the conclusion here?

John Powers said...

Zibgniew, I'm afraid this link is off-topic
But I thought of you and the sorts of questions you ask.

Above the money tin for office coffee was a small photograph: some weeks pictures of flowers, other weeks pictures of human eyes. Collections almost tripled during weeks with the eyes.

One suggestion was the eyes presented a message that there really was someone watching.

I doubt taping a picture of eyes at the top of my computer monitor would have any effect. But in another thread you were looking for an algorithm to staunch email flame wars. I wonder if there's something simple like a set of eyes looking back at you that would have results on curbing flame wars.

zby said...

Thanks for the link - that's interesting and really on topic for my other posts here.

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