NobleExperiment - An experiment which has no fixed preconceptions or prejudices as to what the outcome will be but is freely presented to all with the designed intent of producing something immediately useful.
It has been extremely successful and has been cloned countless times and has extended its reach across this globe.
The NobleExperiment of the wiki should not be characterized as an episode. While there are pages which might be characterized as WikiEpisodes, the wiki is more correctly an ongoing experiment in the ability of an open and freely editable space to evolve and facilitate collaboration in the presentation, modification and growth of ideas and knowledge.
Get at the ideas of the man who initiated it:
To understand something of the thinking of WardCunningham, the creator of Wiki, consider what he wrote at almost the same time as that of launching this NobleExperiment. Interestingly enough it is titled "Episodes."
It is a Noble, not Scientific, Experiment. A laboratory where the thoughts and ideas of the participants can have social as well as scientific components. It is an experiment in the sense of trying something out - to see if it works, or where a method or mechanism will take you.
The Wright Brothers Experimented with methods of achieving Flight. The experiment resulted in success.
Wiki is also an experiment which has also achieved success, but not as it was originally perceived. The idea of the Pattern Repository did have preconceived ideas about what was intended, but in the carrying out of the experiment, the original idea developed. In fact Patterns continue to receive attention even though contributions shifted and emphasis on other related subjects including ExtremeProgramming received more emphasis. Developing discussions and presentations seem to reflect common practice and current ideologies. Those who collaborate and contribute survive, and their ideas make progress.
The experiment continues as people show their interest and contribute by offering new topics. As they are being presented/discussed they receive attention, not only of those who directly participate, but also by those who read and absorb the information presented. As long as the subjects continue and are accepted or secure the attention of others, the experiment continues. All forms of expression are found including Dissertations, Presentations, Opinions, Dialogs, Hyperlinks to other Wikis or Internet resources, Categories and Collections. It is my hope that the experiment will continue for many years to come. -- DonaldNoyes
It might be noble, but it's not how science is done, at least not how I see it done. Typically experiments are done to test a specific hypothesis. The preconception, based on extrapolation from previously done experiments, is that the test will confirm the hypothesis. Scientists generally don't do experiments that they don't expect to "work", or at least those that do tend to fail to get their funding renewed and are thereby forced to cease doing experiments. The results of an experiment can either support the hypothesis, or fail to support the hypothesis, but experiments done with no preconceptions about the outcome are pretty much outside the ScientificMethod. --AndyPierce
It's difficult, if not impossible, to do anything without preconceptions. --rj
Being outside the ScientificMethod isn't necessarily a bad thing. --rj
I think you miss the point. The reason why the wiki is no experiment, not even a NobleExperiment, in the scientific sense, is not because there are no preconditions or no specific hypothesis. It is no experiment in the scientific sense because it can't be made reproducible. Try to create a similar DonaldNoyesPatternRepository if you don't believe me. -- HelmutLeitner
It is not a scientific experiment in your sense and definition, but I believe it does have a hypothesis, that preconditions do exist and that it has been reproduced in the many other wikis on the internet, but not in identical form, for other wikis are trying out other patterns and approaches to achieve ultimate success. I believe you are in process of trying this experiment by using this wiki pattern in other places on this forum we call the Internet. --DonaldNoyes [Verified: "Now (Feb 2001) so many changes have been made to the software that I had to fork away from Cliff's UseModWiki. No chance to keep a common code base. The new name is AgWikiEngine? changed to ProWikiEngine in Sep 2001" - from HelmutLeitner (the page).]
I'm with you Donald. I don't go with this scientific prejudice, particularly the rather sterile definition above. Anarchy is much more interesting. Stir the pot, see what emerges. -- RichardHenderson.
While it may be true that this wiki could become anarchy and a mess, Ward's thought processes include the allowance for actions which are based on special kind of uncertainty that extracts from the situation whatever certainty that exists at the time one acts or produces, and postpones actions which would be based only on supposition (not immediately available):
"Programming is the act of making and encoding decisions about future behavior. Encoding requires the careful consideration of the basis and consequence of every decision. Often decisions are found incomplete and new questions raised. ... we consider decision making in the presence of incomplete, obscure or questionable facts. We include patterns for the assembling of knowledge in artifacts and individuals, and for limiting decision making when knowledge requirements exceed that immediately available." From Episodes by WardCunningham
In the more then a decade that I have participated on this Wiki, I have seen it all (or what feels like I nearly have). One of the things that always stands out the most, is certain behavior types that can only be described and understood by those that have knowledge of, and understanding of, ThePrisonExperiment(s). It is always interesting to me how people react to situations like: role-playing; when not given the rules; the rules are too open-ended; and where there is no clear leader (such as: SelfGoverned?). These problems arise on Wiki over and over, with wave after wave of repeated and predictable uncontrollable behaviors without the lessons ever being learned or utilized. This is the same type of situations that quickly arose with the many communes from back in the day in the USA, and why so very few have survived. What is in the beginning set up to be a place of cooperation and easy-going acceptance, is always quickly infiltrated by those that demand total control and power over everyone else, ending in real madness. This always breaks-down into some type of civil-war that tears the commune apart. So, even today, the few communes that have survived are not really communes at all, but rather dictatorships. Quite the opposite of the original intent and desires of the founders. Also, reminiscent of what happens in recently liberated, small, ThirdWorldContries?, where a new evil, and more wicked, leader quickly arises from those that demanded liberation, to once again throw the country back into an evil oppressive monarchy.
Interesting observation. It is not necessarily so that participants here would view what they do here is role-playing. While I admit that there are those who attempt to dominate and impose their will upon how this place should be run and what passes as their own self-imposed idea of acceptable content and behavior, that participants can, as they are voluntarily here, either ignore this version of leadership and dictates as being unimportant and unworthy of the larger vision of what this place can be and still is, to many, or if unable or unwilling to exercise the effort and diplomacy required, they may simply leave, as many have found necessary. Prisoners do not have many options, and certainly can not exercise the option to leave. We have in this place some Voluntary participants who desire to participate in spite of, rather than because of dysfunctional behaviors, and manage to establish a way to accomplish a collaborative experience, and do so, but they must not be in a hurry. Patience, Persistance, Honesty, and Attention to Detail are important tools in making any experiment work.
This is what I try to keep in mind when I choose to participate in the interactions in this place. I find that many times my intial ideas and views, in the course of collaboration will be changed and that I may need to clarify or revise what I had held or stated. I will never view myself as a victim of circumstances, but as one who desires to, and will make efforts to manage the circumstances which many view themselves as being dominated by. I try to keep things SimpleMinded and to exercise PositiveDialogue when deciding as I have here, to participate. I sometimes introduce my ideas and considerations as ThinkingOutLoud, particularly when I have not established hard lines of definition on the topic of thought. -- DonaldNoyes
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I choose not a model, but an approach: one of PositiveDialogue, which means I strive to discover meaning and to convey meaning to others. I do so in an exchange, not as an actor who is role-playing. where one assumes a role or a behavior that is not honest to what they are. I would suggest that most display behaviors not as role-players, but rather they behave in a manner which is quite familiar to themselves in other situations: home, work, community, and in personal social relationships. I see collaboration as an exchange relationship where each participant furnishes information, to each other and to those not directly involved (readers). -- DonaldNoyes.201002161054
I'm sorry, but we are talking about two entirely unrelated issues, so I have removed my last comment above (I was misinformed about what you knew).