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  • Andrea Cousens
  • Barbara Bates
  • Becky Quinlan
  • Elaine Cummings
  • Joel Postman
  • Juan de León
  • Katie Hallen
  • Mimi Harris
  • Rachel Lepold
  • Rachel Shelton
  • Stuart Froman

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« eastpicks: 3/24/06 | Main | 33 Wikis: #4 -- Flu Wiki »



a problem with your democrat/republican wiki idea is the inevitable vandalism from both sides.

Giovanni Rodriguez

True, but it all depends on (1) the purpose of the wiki, (2)the tasks identified for collaboration, and (3) criteria, if any, for membership. Not all good wikis are public, e.g.

Like all wikis, it's garbage. The (l)users who spend the most time at the site, or who carry over preexisting social network status from extrasite venues, end up directing things as happens in every wiki.

It's more about agreeing with and supporting friends than it is hashing out accurate articles. The very example cited in the above glowing review, John Linnell's bio, is chock-full of bizarre censorship from self-appointed, self-righteous guardians.

As with any wiki, if you aren't personally willing to sacrifice a significant amount of time and energy -- perpetually -- don't expect any changes you make, especially controversial ones, to last longer than a microsecond.

Wikis aren't democratic. The comparison to Republicans and Democrats is totally off-base. Wikidom is oligarchic, and the oligarchy is determined by specific meritocracy (relative to time spent editing the wiki, not accuracy or detail of information provided).

I give TMBW two thumbs down.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Interesting last response there! I love wikis, but have to say that those points need to be responded to.

Also, your reference to Wisdom of Crowds, btw, doesn't jive with the summary of the book's author's talk at SXSW a friend gave me: that there are 3 preconditions essential to the wisdom of crowds working a. there has to be a factually correct answer b. people have to be able to come up with their estimation independently. I don't remember what the third one is, but I'd say that the first two aren't met by wikis and thus that it's not the best metaphor to use.

I love this series, though, and will tell everyone I know about it. Yay!

Marshall Kirkpatrick

You know what, I went and looked it up and I stand in part corrected:

Under what circumstances is the crowd smarter?

There are four key qualities that make a crowd smart. It needs to be diverse, so that people are bringing different pieces of information to the table. It needs to be decentralized, so that no one at the top is dictating the crowd's answer. It needs a way of summarizing people's opinions into one collective verdict. And the people in the crowd need to be independent, so that they pay attention mostly to their own information, and not worrying about what everyone around them thinks.

Giovanni Rodriguez

Marshall -- thanks.

Actually James Surowiecki (author of "Wisdom of Crowds") talks about many different types of group collaboration. Yes, there are conditions that need to be met, and I believe a wiki can be one of many useful tools ... depending on purpose of the project. After this series is over, I am going to do a more general analysis of what we're observing -- what's working, what is not, etc. "33 Wikis" can't cover everything that needs to be covered, but I'm hoping we get enough people thinking about this to generate some original thinking. We first need to gather the specimens.


"The very example cited in the above glowing review, John Linnell's bio, is chock-full of bizarre censorship from self-appointed, self-righteous guardians."

Unless you're referring to the vandalism of spam-bots being reverted, I don't see any censorship, bizzare or not. Care to elaborate, anonymous poster?


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