Posted by: zyxo | January 4, 2009

Wikipedia : the swarm and the intelligent


Caption text
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently, wikipedia is not a termite hill after all.

You know, the intelligence of the swarm, where a whole bunch of dummy individuals together create a masterpiece like a termite hill or a beehive.

In our common knowledge wikipedia is created by a “swarm ” of thousends and thousends of contributors. Kevin Kelly described this as follows :”Wikipedia is not the only hive mind out there. There’s the grand web itself“, before two sentences later he admits that “In fact a close inspection of Wikipedia’s process reveals that it has an elite at its center, … there is far more deliberate top-down design management going on than first appears

Now Aaron Swartz conducted a study to find out who exactly creates the content of wikipedia.

It is striking that 50% of the edits are done by 0.7% of the contributors and 73.4% is done by 2% or 1,400 people.

So you can say that it is a very skewed swarm : The bulk of the work is done by a team of experts whereas a lot of the input, but only 26.6% of the work, is provided by the remaining 98% or approximately 68,600 people.

It is like a beehive that has in stead of one queen a huge royal family at the commands.
Or stated otherwise : it is very much like how they wrote traditional encyclopdia’s on paper.

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