Digg, Wikipedia, and the myth of Web 2.0 democracy. – By Chris Wilson – Slate Magazine

http://community.brighton.ac.uk/jd29/weblog/21996.html

Full story at: http://jondron.net/cofind/frshowresource.php?tid=5325&resid=1360

Yet another article discussing the (less than surprising) fact that social sites such as Digg, Wikipedia and SlashDot are not purely crowd-driven applications but rely on small cliques, rules and algorithms to succeed. The top-down vs bottom-up issue appears to be the flavour of the year.

What I find interesting about many of the examples given is that they are instances of what Terry Anderson and I have been calling ‘the collective’. It is the combination of individual (not always explicitly connected) acts with algorithms or rules that gives these systems their power. A crowd left to its own devices is typically dumb, for all sorts of structural reasons such as the Matthew Principle, the effects of priority and unbridled stigmergy. It is only when explicit mechanisms are in place that include things such as delay, evolutionary filtering and reputation mechanisms, not to mention parcellating algorithms, that the crowd becomes smart.
Created:Sat, 23 Feb 2008 23:20:41 GMT

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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