Working on content at Hunch over the past year has given me plenty of time to mull over various aspects of creating a UGC product. At a certain point, I realized that each and every day I was spending some amount of time at wikipedia. While assembling content and knowledge online, inevitably I kept coming across the king of all wikis. It has informed many of the UGC principles we use at Hunch, figuring that the contributors and bosses of wikipedia have already reached pretty solid positions on issues that can, at times, be especially tricky.
Along the way, I’ve been picking out some of my favorite pages from across wikipedia to be shared here, beginning with one that details a central principle that I believe must exist in all wikis. This page details why, when settling disagreements, polling of the crowd is not a substitute for discussion and collaboration. It is forceful, authoritarian and anti-democratic, yet it stands at the core of a tool that has totally obliterated the barriers to entry for public knowledge and near-factual authority — and this is all a good thing! At once top-heavy and bureaucratic, in my eyes this principle helps wikipedia affirm a consensus on disagreements in a manner that both a) takes a bit o’ time to appeal, discuss and simmer and b) will eventually reach a single judge to just put an end to the matter.