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Wikis and consensus

Mark Bernstein on the most recent kerfuflle around Aaron Swartz‘s Wikipedia page:

Let’s face it: wikis are for coherent communities with shared values and possessing some mechanism, explicit or implicit, to sanction bad behavior. Wikipedia has tried to evolve its own community through Wikisym and WikiFest and its own sanctions through its disciplinary process, but neither is entire convincing and both require a huge expenditure of effort in which smart and talented people spend exorbitant amounts of time policing petulant children.

I’ve always hoped that tools for social collaboration, like Wikis, could help to bridge the divide between different communities of thought. But it’s increasingly evident that many people simply don’t want to get along, and technology empowers them to ruin it for the rest of us.

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