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Wiki as a Commons | Gordon Brander

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Wikis are like Minecraft for thought — very simple, very open-ended... can generate complex living systems, from personal notes, to collaborative fansites, to Wikipedia.

While open-ended, there's scarcity: there can be only one page for each name, forcing "negotiation, communal norms, communal goals, communal meanings... Open-ended meaning-making, shared world, scarce real-estate... Every game with more than one player becomes a game about the interaction between those players. Without shared scarcity, there is no incentive to join our realities, and meaning-making becomes fork-only."

Wikipedia's "soft security" is reactive: everything is open, shared and reversible, and requires a community to govern the shared space. How do wikis stack up against

Ostrom’s Theory of the Commons' eight conditions for managing a commons without tragedy?

  1. "Clear boundaries: the wiki domain, and those who can edit it.
  2. Managed by locals: wiki users.
  3. Community makes its own rules: wikis have no formal rules beyond actions the community carries out.
  4. Community can monitor behavior: edit history.
  5. Graduated sanctions for those who violate community rules: reprimands on talk pages, page rollbacks, banning.
  6. Cheap, accessible conflict resolution: rollbacks.
  7. Self-determination of the community: it’s a volunteer project.
  8. In large commons, multiple levels of management: on Wikipedia, administrators."

Building the wiki way means creating "simple technologies with extremely wide ranges of motion, then evolving communities to govern them"

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See also: Online Community Management , Social Media Strategy , Thinking tools , Politics , Communications Strategy

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