Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Wiki Ideology

The unique features and values of wiki design are also part of a deeper intellectual tradition and debate. John M. Unsworth, Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, saw wiki design as part of an ideology with a long tradition, a meme of Liberation Technology clashing with the meme of Command and Control (2004). This is also characterized in other ways including open source versus proprietary, and free information systems versus safe information systems. Unsworth wrote as spokesperson for the liberation technology point of view. His adversarial approach to the situation may also obscure other paths to solution.

A different perspective might seek harmony. The creative tension between heterarchy and hierarchy is as old as human history and as old as life itself. Command and control has been well established technically and culturally. One might see the apparent conflict as merely the growing pains of making room for technological designs that better harmonize cultural forces. Wiki designs are long overdue, and are likely to further modify best practices to be more open to creative developments and flexible management.

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