In an Alife Experiment you create
a sort of playground, e.g. the artificial world.
Next you create an array of a data containers.
Every data container is a so-called critter
(= artificial being) that runs around in the Artificial world.
The critters will interact with the playground (=eat) and with each other (fight and procreate). This all according to all kind of rules. In a sort of way the datacontainers are genes.
This is all very simple.
I wondered what way a WikiWiki
page is also an ALife experiment. What is the playfield, what are the critters. I just didn't see the answer, until I realized a page is not a gene, nor a playground, but a meme
So a wikiwiki is an experiment/study in evolvement and change in culture
In a study that I made a few years ago, I noticed a lot of people stay rather short; they discover wiki, next they are very active during let's say, hundred days, producing 20 or up to 1000 actions, next they quit.
All this actions by people is similar to the actions of people in the real world over generations.
Everybody who is very active thinks he or she knows what a Wiki is all about and what way it should look like, but actually we just know it's a whole lot of pages and a way to create and edit pages.
A good way to study what way the pages change is to upload a list of all the wikipages, http://c2.com/cgi/wikiNames
, every week and as soon as you have a lot of pages, you can spend some time writing some code to analysing changes in the list.
Moved here from TimeAgainForWikiMutiny
(posed there as an argument against mutiny):
- I think that it is important for everyone to re-realize that WardsWiki was and is an experiment. It was never meant to be the end-all, but rather the beginning, the alpha to spur-on innovation. It stands now as still an on-going experiment, a model if you will, that gives rise to the justifications for newer more secure implementations of wiki. To participate here, is to knowingly and willingly be part of an on-going experiment, and to become part of that data.
- But there comes a point where people don't like being treated like guinea pigs anymore. Whether they have a "right" to complain or not, it's human nature to not like being treated like a play-thing even if the player is relatively benign.
- Yes. But that is also part of the 'experiment' and is thus not a reason to change the setup of the experiment.
- Further, by remaining you choose to be a part of the experiment. The experiment is here, independently of your participation. If you choose to stay, you are a part of it. You can always JustLeave.
- Such all-or-nothing terms are a recipe for problems. I am not necessarily encouraging problems, but being the messenger about human reaction to such situations. People will start demanding a democracy of sorts rather than a lab technician in charge.
In relation to the just above see: NobleExperiment PositiveDialogueCommunity
I'm a bit more optimistic. One can LetHotPagesCool
without risk of stomping on egos. Perhaps allowing a ThreadMode
, heated argument to take place then having a neutral (but interested) party factor out signal is to DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork
in a social wiki. IMO, people that jump into a heated argument and complain about the ThreadMess
are just irritating hypocrites, participating in the very problem they are denigrating. DocumentMode
can't be easily forged out of nothing at all - perhaps it needs
heat, argument, hot air, fire and flame, then eventually ash, for a germ of an idea to grow into something more. In the decades-long view, this is how any wiki gets to be InsanelyGreat
However, there is one thing (ignoring spam and abuse) that needs to be changed: OnceAndOnlyOnce
needs to apply to flaming arguments and ideas, too, lest people continue to enter the WikiWiki
and present the same arguments again and again.
To do this, people need to be easily able to find both running arguments and DocumentMode
pages related to topics of interest. WikiWiki
, or any successor to it, desperately requires considerably more advanced and accessible search features in order to break down the WalledGardens
had the right idea, at least, in resisting namespace hierarchies which would do the opposite. Further, to prevent fruitless arguments and repeat arguments, such as those founded in deep misunderstandings (e.g. those falling back so often to LaynesLaw
, or that arise from not grokking some theory or model), a wiki must enable a much greater and more thorough degree of self-education than is provided by the very limited and somewhat magical "read the page and though shalt comprehend". A wiki as an educational medium does not need to be entirely passive; DocumentMode
should be supplemented with support for interactive education, tutorials, tests and quizzes that are automatically graded, examples that can be run and modified, et cetera - and a wiki would do well to possess social and cultural engineering (e.g. through 'ideals' like WikiPedia
's NPOV, and perhaps by making quiz-grades public per user-name, and even by such things as RealNamesPlease
) to pressure those humans possessing unmerited arrogance (and there will always be a few in any population, more so among the people willing to speak up) to humble themselves before impartial tests of knowledge, comprehension, and skill. (Too often I have wished to slap around those people who refuse to self-educate, and who therefore cannot see their own fallacy or misunderstanding even when it is pointed out to them.)
As a bonus, construction of such tests and tutorials and examples - even if it is just tests of comprehension rather than of 'truth' - would greatly increase the educational value of any wiki AND help solidify and (most importantly) formalize
the ideas held within, considerably reducing imprecision and ambiguity inherent to natural language.
A couple of points in response:
- In my experience, no one goes back in to tidy ThreadMesses once they get beyond a certain stage. If the participants don't even bother trying to keep it tidy, it never happens.
- Refactoring often happens by the creation of a new page and the deprecation and eventual deletion of an old one. There is no need to 'tidy' thread messes. And forcing participants to 'keep it tidy' works to a degree, but mostly means that ideas are never presented in the first place.
- People can already find things if they bother to read to start with. It appears that people don't even bother. I am less optimistic that any tools will help prevent this problem. I believe newbies will continue to be welcomed, and then pee all over the place exactly because they haven't bothered to look at the wisdom that's already here.
- I disagree with this. There are too many WalledGardens, even for someone who has been on the wiki for a very long time. Tools can help a great deal with this. Even replacing the Wiki FindPage with support for the Google engine would be an improvement. Addition of tags or predicates would be another. Rapid access to bayesian clustering would also help. Etc.
- I can't even begin to visualise the manner of implementing or presenting "interactive education, tutorials, tests and quizzes". I suspect the result would not be a wiki.
- That's a bold statement. WhatIsaWiki? Do you believe that provision of a legible document is some sort of ultimate 'service' a wiki ought to provide? Or do you believe (as I do) that 'wiki' is more fundamentally about open and collaborative creation of DeeplyIntertwingled services for which forums for argument and DocumentMode pages are simply examples? WikiDesignPrinciples certainly don't focus on document construction.
I wish I had your optimism. I've been here for over 10 years and see nothing to make me believe the decline will even slow.
- I've seen a lot of change, and I see a lot of potential - some of which I wish to help realize (e.g. with WikiIde). It has only been 15 years since the 'Internet' access became a commodity, and it has grown quite a bit; I refuse to judge its future by the hiccups and viral infections it had when it was younger or by a few mood swings in its teenage years. As far as Internet technology is concerned, I can't but help feel incredible optimism.
What should be of interest to all, after reading this page, is how that this wiki and its effect on its community, stands as a good model of why open communes don't work very well. This wiki is kind of like the old hippy communes of the past, and the only ones that seem to have really survived are the closed religious ones. However, a cyber commune like this one, is ideal for a continuing experiment in social interaction. It is important to give the community a task, the task itself is not that important, but rather what happens when they try to accomplish that task. I have mainly stayed around all of these many, many, years, to observe and interact in this most intriguing experiment. One can learn much here.
Ye'old TheCathedralAndTheBazaar argument, again? I don't think that way at all; this page is just a few people voicing a few complaints, and doesn't at all represent what has and has not "worked very well".
No signed-edit security: yet ANOTHER reason to mutiny :-)
Yes, I note the smiley, but nonetheless, people here used to take care over ethics, even though not enforced by the technology. Clearly now they don't bother.
- Jaded, are you? Most people do care about ethics, but it is naive to assume that everyone cares. In any open system, principles and ideals of the community should be both aided, encouraged, and either enforced or made more enforceable by technology (depending on the degree to which technology can help). Otherwise just a few bad apples - the spammers, the abusers, the people who make viruses, etc. - can (and invariably will) spoil the bunch. It would be nice if everyone was mature, educated, open-minded, humble enough to recognize her limits, assertive enough to state her views, arrogant enough to know things can be done better and JustDoIt, was motivated by the right reasons, etc. But that isn't the world we live in. We have children. We have WikiPuppys. We have people who thumb their nose at education. We have people with primary agendas to sell products. We have people who find change stressful and who would rather dig in their heels to resist it. We have people who talk but never act. We especially have the latter - the wiki, after all, currently doesn't provide significant service to support actions other than discussion and meta-discussion. Anyhow, faith in humanity should be accompanied by realistic expectations - among those, the optimistic faith and not-unrealistic expectation that most (but not all) people will rise to meet any reasonable expectations.
- Yes, I'm jaded. I remember when the vast majority did care, and the few who didn't were either assisted in become members of the community, sharing the culture of constructive creation of documents, or had the damage they inflicted simply edited away. I acknowledge that we can't do that any more, and I regret its passing. You call it naive, but I remember when it worked. I am saddened that most people now here never knew, and will never know, this wiki at its best. You assert that most people do care about ethics, but I see no evidence of that. All I see these days is a majority wanting their opinion to be heard, and insisting that they place it everywhere. Still, I'm just a GrumpyOldMan?, and my time has been and gone. I've made one last attempt to help preserve the culture, but it's clearly too late.
- When you came here ten years ago, WikiWiki wasn't an open community. It was, de-facto, a closed community... because it was an unknown community. For most people, the first they ever hear of 'Wiki' is WikiPedia. And the only way to ever 'preserve' a culture is to put it in stasis. The best you can do is to attempt to grow a culture to your preference... and, in an open community where it becomes impossible to keep up with demand for attention, the only way to do this is by combination of education (e.g. making expectations clear, teaching more people to promote your values), technological support (for enforcing and enabling ideologies - e.g. protecting signatures from tampering, keeping history to allow reversal of malicious changes, etc), and cultural engineering (designing a situation, both social and technological, where the behavioral paths of least resistance and greatest reward are those that better match one's ideals). If there are any problems with this Wiki, it is that it attempts to meet certain WikiDesignPrinciples (such as being open) without recognizing certain environmental realities (such as spam and zealotry). But I don't see these problems as fundamental to wiki. Still, I expect it is easy to be discouraged if you've spent time performing 'last ditch efforts' to stop what seems to be a tide, especially if you've been doing so by yourself.
- Didn't this wiki used to be populated by OO GOF pattern zealots? They had a similar interest and a similar goal. The change may be partly due to a more varied audience with different pet technologies and interests.
"but it's clearly too late"
"... and the band played on"
- I doubt that this is true. The fact that the person who made the statement still attempts to exert some influence and can clearly express the concerns about what this wiki, (in the current contributory cycle) has become, is an indication that it is not too late. One must remember that what has been contributed from the past has for the most part remained.
- This is not just a place for current topic discussion and debate, but rather a wiki which has existed to demonstrate what wikis can do for collaboration. The fact that some participants may more want to be heard about their own interests, and have little interest in listening to what others may have to say should not override the fact that many others have found it possible to engage in meaningful collaboration and dialogue, and to have it preserved for others to read and perhaps further interact. -- DonaldNoyes.20080429.20110320
while the Titanic sank, so it clearly wasn't too late ...
- Every member of that band was making the best of a bad situation, and were doing what they could give some comfort and strength. They knew full well that the end was near and as it became imminent switched to songs of eternal faith. One can realize what is really happening and still have hope. They were not being delusional and ignoring the reality, but were in fact embracing that reality.
- Whatever the truth of the Titanic's "last song" legend, Eaton and Haas neatly sum up its significance: One irrefutable fact, however, remains: the musicians stayed until all hope of rescue was gone. Who can say how many lives their efforts saved? The final moments of how many were cheered or ennobled by their music? 'Songe d'Automne' or 'Autumn.' 'Horbury' or 'Bethany'. What difference? The memory of the bandsmen and their courageous music will never die.
- Credits: http://www.snopes.com/history/titanic/lastsong.asp