Vom Schwarmgeist (Teil 2)

Cory Doctorow, Sci-Fi-Autor und Mitherausgeber des wunderbaren Blogs
boingboing.net, findet, Laniers Kritik an den Wikis geht an deren Wesen vorbei. Wikipedia ist nun mal nicht die „Britannica“: „The Britannica is great at being authoritative, edited, expensive, and monolithic. Wikipedia is great at being free, brawling, universal, and instantaneous. Making a million-entry encyclopedia out of photons, philosophy and peer-pressure would be impossible before the Internet’s ‚collectivism‘. Wikipedia is a noble experiment in defining a protocol for organizing the individual efforts of disparate authors with conflicting agendas.“ Wer nach der einen, verbindlichen Wahrheit sucht, meint Doctorow, ist allerdings grundsätzlich schlecht beraten:
„The Britannica tells you what dead white men agreed upon, Wikipedia tells you what live Internet users are fighting over … The Britannica truth is an illusion, anyway. There’s more than one approach to any issue, and being able to see multiple versions of them, organized with argument and counter-argument, will do a better job of equipping you to figure out which truth suits you best.“ Und nicht wundern, wenn das multiple Wiki-Prinzip neue Anforderungen an uns Leser stellt: „If you want to really navigate the truth via Wikipedia, you have to dig into those ‚history‘ and ‚discuss‘ pages hanging off of every entry … Reading Wikipedia like Britannica stinks. Reading Wikipedia like Wikipedia is mind-opening.“

Bottom-up, top-down

Auch Wired-Wizard Kevin Kelly nimmt Wind raus. Den reinen Schwarmgeist, beruhigt er die Gemeinde, hat schließlich noch keiner gesehen:
„In fact a close inspection of Wikipedia’s process reveals that it has an elite at its center, (and that it does have a center is news to most), and that there is far more deliberate design management going on than first appears … What’s new is only this: never before have we been able to make systems with as much ‚hive‘ in it as we have recently made with the Web. Until this era, technology was primarily all control, all design. Now it can be design and hive. In fact, this Web 2.0 business is chiefly the first step in exploring all the ways in which we can combine design and the hive in innumerable permutations.“ Wußten wir’s nicht? Richtig schön wird’s zu zweit: „In 50 years a significant portion of Wikipedia articles will have controlled edits, peer review, verification locks, authentication certificates, and so on. That’s all good for us readers. The fast moving frontiers will probably be as open and wild as they are now. That’s also great for us.“

Yochai Benkler, Rechtsgelehrter in Yale und Buchautor („The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom“), führt gegen Lanier die Chancen des netzwerkgestützten Arbeitens ins Feld, an deren einem Ende doch stets ein Individuum steht – alles andere als Maoismus: „Networked-based, distributed, social production, both individual and cooperative, offers a new system, alongside markets, firms, governments, and traditional non-profits, within which individuals can engage in information, knowledge, and cultural production. This new modality of production offers new challenges, and new opportunities. It is the polar opposite of Maoism. It is based on enhanced individual capabilities, employing widely distributed computation, communication, and storage in the hands of individuals with insight, motivation, and time, and deployed at their initiative through technical and social networks, either individually or in loose voluntary associations.“

Dass Wikipedia nicht der Feind ist, glauben auch Fernanda Viegas und Martin Wattenberg vom IBM Visual Communication Lab. Inhalte, schreiben sie, kommen nicht automatisch, sondern durch für Leser sogar nachvollziehbare Auseinandersetzung zwischen Autoren zustande: „A cacophony of individual voices … It is hard to claim that Wikipedia is built by an anonymous, mindless mob engaged in foolish collectivism. As long as critiques of Wikipedia’s processes stop at the article level, they will continue to miss the point. The persistent, searchable archives provided by Wiki technology allow individual voices to survive even as consensus is reached …“

Und das soll ein Schwarmgeist sein?

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