Building the Goodwill of Networks

Simon Terry, Apr 11, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm not sure exactly what to make of this post. Sure, the author points to a series of problems that plague network behaviour, from the problem of noise, to requests for information that can be found in the manual, to unclear requests, to people making requests without providing responses of their own. But it's framed like the tragedy of the commons, posed as a problem of free riders. "Great networks build up goodwill among the members which facilitates collaboration through trust, shared connection and a sense of reciprocal benefits. Free riders are members of those networks who don’t contribute to the general goodwill," writes Simon Terry. But this is just nonsense. Networks aren't some sort of quid pro quo marketplace. The ability of people to contribute is asymmetrical. 'Goodwill' isn't some sort of pseudo-network currency. And it's silly to think of a network simply as a question-answer sort of system.

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