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   RE: [xml-dev] Invitation to metadata dictionary wiki - meaningfuel.org

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  • To: "Elliotte Harold" <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>, "Klaus Backert" <Klaus.Backert@t-online.de>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Invitation to metadata dictionary wiki - meaningfuel.org
  • From: "Nathan Young -X \(natyoung - Artizen at Cisco\)" <natyoung@cisco.com>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 11:52:15 -0800
  • Cc: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Thread-index: AcYkOYXPCsDvpbRORIKiG4Pl1msdZwBmAUDQ
  • Thread-topic: [xml-dev] Invitation to metadata dictionary wiki - meaningfuel.org


I understand "wisdom of the crowds" as jargon that means something entirely different than "design by committee".

You don't pick something to use as a scalpel out of a collection of random objects, in which case you would be reduced to looking mainly for "sharp" and "clean".  Scalpels have a history of refinement of design that spans hundreds of years and contains branches for specific uses.  The scalpel a surgeon uses today is very much the result of "wisdom of the crowds".

Which points to how thoroughly "wisdom of the crowds" is a misnomer.  Does it capture:
 - if you take input in a smart way (more of an art than a science) you can do better work than you could alone.
 - for some problems there are very reliable solutions that involve analyzing the behavior of a carefully selected group in a very specific way
 - there can be working modes that incorporate multiple reviews and revisions that result in very very good results

All of this begs the question:  How does it happen?  Why are some traditional chair designs so uncomfortable?  Why didn't e2 become wikipeida?  Why didn't feeBSD take off the way linux did?  And why did wikipedia and linux succeed?



Nathan Young
CDC Site Dev->Interface Development Team
A: ncy1717
E: natyoung@cisco.com  

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Elliotte Harold [mailto:elharo@metalab.unc.edu] 
> Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 10:33 AM
> To: Klaus Backert
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Invitation to metadata dictionary wiki 
> - meaningfuel.org
> Klaus Backert wrote:
> > Let's assume: I have to go to a hospital to get a surgical 
> treatment. 
> > Then I'm inside the operational theater. On the one side there is a 
> > "well educated and credential" surgeon. On the other side 
> there ist a 
> > "self-selected group of people interested enough in 
> surgical tools to 
> > participate in a discussion of surgical tools". Whom will I 
> count on, 
> > when it comes to the selection of the proper surgical tool 
> for treating ME?
> I don't know who you'd pick, but I'd put more faith in the 
> self-selected 
> group. This is the stunning revelation of Wikipedia, open source, and 
> the Net: the wisdom of the self-selected crowd is usually better than 
> the wisdom of the single expert.
> There are all sorts of caveats you can put on that. For 
> instance, I'd be 
> quite concerned if the self-selected crowd were only employees of a 
> single manufacturer of surgical tools. I'd also be concerned if the 
> single expert had been extensively winded and dined by that same 
> manufacturer. I don't happen to know if surgical tools 
> vendors do this 
> or not. Drug companies, however, certainly do this with a documented 
> negative effect on patient treatment.  Frankly it's harder to bias a 
> group acting together than individuals acting singly.
> I don't think I would have believed this a few years ago myself, but 
> I've seen too much evidence lately of the effectiveness of 
> this approach 
> to deny it.
> Perhaps this is just another variation of the invisible hand of the 
> market Adam Smith write about two centuries ago. More likely, but the 
> the invisible hand of the market, the superior wisdom of 
> Wikipedia, and 
> the ability to count jelly beans by averaging guesses are specific 
> instances of a more general principle about the wisdom of crowds. A 
> thermodynamics of sociology perhaps?
> -- 
> ´╗┐Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
> XML in a Nutshell 3rd Edition Just Published!
> http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian3/
> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0596007647/cafeaulaitA/
> ref=nosim
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