Jordan Frank, at Traction Software (something I just saw demoed recently and found really impressive) makes a point on their blog about how Wikipedia isn’t strictly speaking a “bottom up” emergent entity, but the result of carefully considered guidelines, standards, roles and other governance that is still being refined.
Best Practice and the Wikipedia Big Brain
Collectively, there are a set of rules that govern what can be done in this wiki and people who manage the structure through the list of possible categories and who enforce the rules, though sometimes with differing philosophy, but all with common governance.
My thought is that these things he’s describing are, in large part, the information architecture of this participatory framework. Where does the “site” end and the “governance” begin? It’s really all part of the same whole.
It’s a thought I’ve been having and saying for a while, but it still feels slippery in my head and when I try to articulate it, so I guess I’m drawn to statements where other people are articulating something similar.