Friday, January 04, 2008
A grab-bag of links
Pete Forsyth posted over at AboutUs a list of Wiki success stories. Amazingly, most of the examples he thought of were on Wikipedia -- and within the last few months. With all of the problems that get more publicity, it's nice to be reminded that Wikipedia does work for the most part.
Andrew Chen's post, "Public and private spaces, and why YouTube comments are so awful", could have been written in response to Moulton's comment on my last post. (No, I'm not trying to linkwhore myself here; it's just that Blogger, for some reason, doesn't allow me to link to individual comments.) In brief, Chen reflects on how anonymity and differences affect the culture of online communities. (Thanks to the Daily Buzz over at AboutUs for this one.)
Lastly, Chen's post led me (after a few jumps) to Chris Allen's post, "Dunbar, Altruistic Punishment, and Meta-Moderation", which discusses a few studies that look at the problem of why groups functions best at certain numbers of members, beyond the familiar Dunbar number thesis. (His other blog entries on this theme are also worth reading.) What I find fascinating are the dynamics he describes for the chronic problem of managing groups on Wikipedia: to have a functional group with more than 150 members (like the total number of active editors), one must not only have "punishing mechanism" to enforce cultural norms, but (to echo Juvenal's oft-quoted observation) a "punishing mechanism" for the "punishing mechanism" -- although Allen uses the language of "moderation" and "meta-moderation."
Technocrati tags: Ignite Portland, online communities, Portland Tech, Web 2.0, wikipedia