Monday, December 31, 2007
I wish I had seen this far sooner
This also offers a partial explanation why there are so many content wars on Wikipedia: because people are passionate about their subjects, they are also passionate about their contributions.
I've found a number of other thoughtful posts on Wiley's blog, Iterating towards Openness. Also check out this response to his post, which led me to it.
Technocrati tags: Collaboration, Open source, wikipedia
With software, you don't have random folks trying to modify your work, only a small, controlled group can do that but that is what a wiki allows. A wiki article maintainer is like an army-of-one trying to fight the approaching hordes. With similar psychological states ensuing.
Part of the problem with the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit" is that it gravitates toward adolescent popular culture, including a lot of fandom, parochial puffery, and street-gang rivalry (AKA Web-Side Story).
If (or when) this sea change comes, we can be sure of one thing. The same number of people will be unhappy with Wikipedia as before -- although the individuals will be different.
This disconnect within the project may not always be a good thing, though: despite my best efforts, too often I hear of an editor I respect leaving when I see his farewell note on his user page, days or even months later.