Saturday, October 01, 2005

Watch An Order Emerge

I love organization. I like putting things in their place and creating a framework to work in. But it's a bitch to implement and maintain. There's always exceptions, there's always new places to put more of the same thing. Thank God for wikis.

Wikis are web sites made up of pages than anyone can change, including pages for organization. Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, is easily the most famous of these sites. But few people know you can make your own wikis for any topic you'd like at wikicities. Currently there are over 500 wikis on wikicities.

After a long trial, I was finally able to launch my own wiki for the World of Darkness. (It's actually very easy to make a wikicity wiki; I ran into some trouble because I wasn't the only one to make a wiki for this.) The World of Darkness is a game series created by White Wolf publishing; my wiki is for fans to published their own ideas genre.

Today is the Wiki's first official day (I posted its existence on various forums early this morning) and already we see order emerge. All I did was advertise it a bit and establish a basic framework (mostly through example). Slowly I'm seeing people fill the holes I left as they contribute. To witness this world evolve, check out its recent changes page. (AtLastAwake is me.)

There is a lesson here that cannot be understated: wikis are economies in their own right. Motivation is generated not by the profit from a job well done, but the prestige from your fellows and the satisfaction of creation. There's no private property, but there's no scarcity either (granted there is some scarcity, but such exceptions have very close substitutes). I think one of the reasons people don't appreciate the beauty of spontaneous is that they can't witness order emerge from on high. Wikis, at least, are a close substitute.

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