I'm very interested in this because I write internet software -- in one incarnation of my work. ^^ A concern is that, in applications like wikipedia, there is much noise in general, only through the unifying force of the devoted (and possibly oppressive) minority does the work take form.

There are topics in wikipedia where people are ousted from their positions as dictator, even benevolent dictator, by the interests of other active members (this actually happened to the founder of the entire project, in some of his areas of interest), and areas as well where people wish "the graffiti" would stop. (ie, it is a "pure" democracy with all the problems you suggest and more, but quite a bit of resilience as well.)

The second problem would surely amplify with a simple voting mechanism, so some form of semi-majority qualifications would have to be erected on the voting (ie, people who contribute more often count more, but not those who contribute to the topic). Even if you wanted a representative democracy in a project like wikipedia, could you implement that mechanism effectively in a uniform manner without it being hijackable? And would it still be worth it -- I mean, if you elected only certain votes to count would the general concensus drive the material?

I think this idea of yours was actually discussed but I'm not sure to what extent the current content guidelines and other norms reflect that direction.

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My hunch is that although I agree the mechanism for gathering individual evaluations is critical, the outcome will be garbage unless each person is motivated to do their best. This is why betting works well as a predictor (people want to win money prizes), and why democratic elections work well as a way of choosing between parties (the voters have to live with the consequences - which is a reason why ex-pats should not be allowed to vote). The most famous scientific collaboration/ fusion was the invented personage of Bourbaki as a way of some French mathemeticians publishing their ideas - but within the elite it was known who participated, and each will have felt that their career was impacted by what 'Bourbaki' wrote.

With this book, a large number of unpaid authors could be a recipe for irresponsibility and low quality - unless the authors are identified and held individually responsible (in some way - it could be informal) for the content of the book.

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