Web Development

Why wikis aren't true open source


Ross Mayfield has a really interesting post at Many-2-Many, wherein he

takes on the notion that the Wikipedia will only succeed if it installs

the gated quality controls that govern open source software projects:


"Open source software and Wikipedia are both driven by commons-based peer production.

How they differ, and the reason software development requires rigorous

quality-control, is that code has dependencies. Writing code is

vertical information assembly, while contributions to a wiki is horizontal information assembly. Wikipedia does have quality control and an organiztional model,

but it isn’t a feature embodied in code, it is embodied in the group. I

know of no goal of being authoritative, but the group voice that

emerges on a page with enough edits (not time) represents a social

authority that provides choice for the media literate. Carr could

create a Wikipedia page to help define what 'pure democracy' is to help

him answer his rhetorical question — but a wiki is just a tool, and

Wikipedia is an exceptional community using it.


"Keep in mind that most wiki use is behind the firewall where there is

an organizational hierarchy and norms in place. There it taps into

similar economics, without the great debates on social truth, and for

the competitive advantage of firms.



"Back to values, when you tap into the renewable resource of people in

mass collaboration, allocated against the scarcity of time, driven by

social signals — is this not of greater benefit for social and economic

welfare than the disruption that created mainstream media in the first

place? I’m glad we agree with Carr on the facts of the disruption. If

we can get past the misunderstanding that there is a value difference,

we could maybe focus on the right policies that will help us in years

to come."

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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