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Sunday, February 27, 2005

The FUD-Based Encyclopedia - CBPP Framework

Aaron Krowne writes passionately about commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP).Excerpts :

CBPP refers to any coordinated, (chiefly) internet-based effort whereby volunteers contribute project components, and there exists some process to combine them to produce a unified intellectual work. CBPP covers many different types of intellectual output, from software to libraries of quantitative data to human-readable documents (manuals, books, encyclopedias, reviews, blogs, periodicals, and more).

Examples of successful CBPP efforts abound. The Linux kernel, the GNU suite of software applications, and the combined GNU/Linux system are prime examples of software CBPP. Slashdot.org is an important example of CBPP through submission of the news articles, and more importantly, the collaboratively-based comment filtering system. Kuro5hin.org is an example of a collaborative article and current-events essay blog, with an emphasis on technology and culture. Wikipedia is an example of a comprehensive encyclopedia.

Even commercial sites, such as Amazon.com, have significant CBPP elements nowadays. These manifest in Amazon as user-submitted reviews and ratings and interlinked favourites lists. The enabling dynamic of CBPP is that people are willing to volunteer a little bit of work and a large amount of knowledge to online community systems, and that when this force is properly harnessed, significant overall value can be created. Aaron postulates two laws about CBPP.

Law 1.) When positive contributions exceed negative contributions by a sufficient factor in a CBPP project, the project will be successful.

Law 2.) Cohesion quality is the quality of the presentation of the concepts in a collaborative component (such as an encyclopedia entry). Assuming the success criterion of Law 1 is met, cohesion quality of a component will overall rise. However, it may temporarily decline. The declines are by small amounts and the rises are by large amounts.

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