Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mr. President, I need a job

As Wikipedia slowly and inexorably advances to become a viable resource, new uses for wikis are already evolving. The unfunny uncyclopedia is a demonstration that comedy is too specific and quirky to be susceptible to a wiki hive-mind (while the best parts of "The Show's" experiment in wikicomedia openly simulate Ze Frank's voice and content), but wikis have proven quite successful for coordinating small-scale pot-lucks and charitable drives. It is still too early to think about a wiki-style participatory democracy, but can wikis be used for bigger things?

I am eagerly awaiting a success story from a wiki-style management structure and corporation. An ideal situation would let team members coordinate goals and assignments, and volunteer for tasks that are congenial to their temperaments. Following true herd-mentality, the wages and credit would be divided, hours in the office would be held constant (to avoid freeloaders) but ineffective people would be voted off the island. Management by wiki would make it easier for people to ask for help as they realize they are in over their heads, and holding wages constant would reduce politics. It should be more efficient, less expensive, and more pleasant for the people involved. Would wage-parity keep Pareto at bay, or would the 80/20 law assert itself in a particularly insidious way, with twenty percent of the team members would doing eighty per cent of the work?

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