Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I'm interested in online communities because I believe that Wikipedia can always do this thing better -- but from some of the comments I heard, Wikipedia is years ahead of the other communities. All of the other groups interested in online communities and how to make them work are struggling with many of the same issues and possible solutions that Wikipedia has been: anonymity, evangelism, troublemakers, decision-making, inward-looking versuses outward-looking conversations, a reputation system and the problem of keeping the community conversation in one place. I'm not sure that Wikipedia has better answers than anyone else, only that we're struggling with them on a larger scale than anyone else. They're trying to make their villages thrive: Wikipedia is struggling to keep its city from imploding.
And, as might be expected, the most interesting comments didn't come from the well-known names. (DiBona left half-way through the BoF session.) Mark Dilley talked a bit about a tool used on AboutUs.org called consensus polling, which Mark said had been adapted from the Omidiyar network (now being phased out of existence). And Wm Leler, one of the founders of Zat.com, talked about his research into a new model of for-profit open source businesses, which he described as being similar to the "old-fashioned worker's cooperative." I'll repeat what I said at the session: if he can make it work, not only will it mean the arrival of Web 3.0, but that I want to know his secret.
If I manage to crash another OSCON event -- or event better, Dawn's Thursday session "Art of the Community", I'll try to share it here.
Technocrati tags: online communities, OSCON, OSCON07, Portland, Wikipedia