More Federated Wikis

Mike Caulfield is now explaining wiki federation and its benefits by means of a movie recommendation example.  In the (surprise) federated wiki he set up to document this, Mike writes:

“Wiki is largely an architecture of collaboration. These things fall on a scale, of course, but if you go and ask people on Wikipedia what their goal is, it’s largely aligned. People are working towards a common vision, and to do that they extensively modify their behavior, and that’s lovely.


You know the common vision is important, because when people step outside that common vision they get hammered on the talk pages. That’s the price you pay for a common vision — a bureaucracy to enforce it. And for Wikipedia, that trade seems worth it.


Federation, on the other hand, is an architecture of cooperation. And again, these things are not binary. They exist on a continuum. But the idea of federation is to do what you would do anyway, but do it in a way that allows it to feed into the common good (and allows you to pull from the common good). ” 1

I think education/learning also fits the dichotomy Mike has laid out here.  Education and its economies of scale require the alignment of goal and vision.  everyone in a particular class has the same curriculum  We do the same assessments and activities at the same time, and boy do we have an bureaucracy to enforce it (writes a member of said bureaucracy).

Compare this to someone who is studying something and taking some notes. Whether or not they are in a class, there are many other people doing the same thing.  How could my Cornish grammar notes or  someone else’s notes on R syntax feed into a learning common good?  What would it look like?  What would it do for us?

Even within the constraints of formal education, imagine if my class had a fed wiki farm.  Every student has her own instance.  If I find a gap in my notes, I search the federation for someone else who has filled it.  If I, on the other hand, see something that doesn’t make sense to me, I just don’t fork it.  If the students actually managed to control their own instances/run their own SFW servers, they could keep those notes permanently rather than losing them at the end of the term.


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