• it belatedly introduces me to two marvellous acronyms: FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and CBPP (commons-based peer production)
• it amusingly points up some massive flaws in McHenry's logic
• it is an excellent introduction to Wikipedia and the reasons why it works
• and, particularly, it posits what Krowne calls the first two laws of CBPP.
Having handily defined CBPP ["Commons-Based Peer Production refers to any coordinated, (chiefly) internet-based effort whereby volunteers contribute project components, and there exists some process to combine them to produce a unified intellectual work. CBPP covers many different types of intellectual output, from software to libraries of quantitative data to human-readable documents (manuals, books, encyclopedias, reviews, blogs, periodicals, and more)."], Krowne puts forward his two laws:
"1) When positive contributions exceed negative contributions by a sufficient factor in a CBPP project, the project will be successful.
2) Cohesion quality is the quality of the presentation of the concepts in a collaborative component (such as an encyclopedia entry). Assuming the success criterion of Law 1 is met, cohesion quality of a component will overall rise. However, it may temporarily decline. The declines are by small amounts and the rises are by large amounts."
Interesting stuff, particularly in the light of the open source seminar I attended last week, when a lot of the discussion centred around what could be called open source, and what was merely a renaming/reworking of more traditional concepts (peer review, networking etc). Commons-based peer production seems useful in this context. What intrigues me is what other laws there might be for CBPP: the bit in the definition above about there being "some process to combine" efforts into a "unified intellectual work" seems to need one, as the judgement/editorial aspects of the project are surely crucial (i.e. the combining/aggregating aspects). Could there be a relation between the number of users/contributors and the number of 'editors' (for want of a better term), for example?