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No human system ever scales

September 18, 2006

Its easy to get carried away with something new. We assume that if something works it will carry on working for ever, but in practice things start to break down or reach natural limits. Now we have the founder of the wikipedia creating a schism with the Citizendium in which the key differences are (and I quote:

Obviously, you want to know how the Citizendium editorial system will differ from Wikipedia’s system. There will be three main areas of dissimilarity. First, the project will invite experts to serve as editors, who will be able to make content decisions in their areas of specialization, but otherwise working shoulder-to-shoulder with ordinary authors. Second, the project will require that contributors be logged in under their own real names, and work according to a community charter. Third, the project will halt and actually reverse some of the “feature creep” that has developed in Wikipedia.

Now things get interesting. Who will be the editors? It looks like they will be allowed to self select! Will this now end up like any mainline journal where the editors are able to control development of an field by not allowing new or contradictory ideas to emerge?

The experiment of the internet continues to be exciting. However, now the hype-growth phase is over the Wikipedia has encountered the problems of mass validation of truth – and guess what the solution is? Editors, now isn’t that revolutionary? Oh and Trolls: well thats easy the plan is to appoint a police force of constables to get rid of them. An editor can be a constable and enforce their own decisions, now it sounds positively stalinist. Its probably necessary, having seen some crazy behaviour, but it is now a bureaucracy like it or not.

Its rather like Luther saying OK boys thats enough of the reformation, lets set up our own curia and start selling indulgences

Of course it may that its 1st April and I have fallen for a hoax …

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