Peer Production: Development from the Edges and from the Crowd

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April 2

Beyond merely providing a forum for political activism, scholars are increasingly aware of the benefits the Internet provides as a mode of production. How can the Internet help us make things together? How much hierarchy and control is needed to produce? How good is the material that peer production creates? And finally, what are the risks to producers (and society) inherent to peer production?

Our special guest this week will be Jérôme Hergueux, a fellow at the Berkman Center, who specializes in behavioral economics and online social spaces.


  • if you’re not familiar, you may want to spend a little time looking at Wikipedia’s entry on Seti@home.

Optional Readings

Videos Watched in Class


Class Discussion

Please remember to sign your postings by adding four tildes (~~~~) to the end of your contribution. This will automatically add your username and the date/time of your post, like so: Asellars 15:29, 21 January 2013 (EST)

I really enjoyed Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds" and how it spoke to the potential superiority of aggregated and averaged knowledge. Due to the rise in portable and mobile computing, the internet has provided a fantastic forum for big data to be collected and analyzed. I personally believe that as the world experiences greater globalization and an increased democratic forum for information sharing, we achieve greater solutions. I found the end of the article particularly interesting as the simulated maze/node experiment highlighted the "mob mentality" vs. the average of individual paths. It's quite astonishing that the "mob mentality" path, using the majority's decision at each node, achieved the original solution. I think that the growth in crowdsourcing and big data will become a huge focal point and resource for research over the next 10 to 15 years. In contrast, I thought Zuckerman's "My Heart's in Accra" brought up various thought provoking questions regarding ideological cocooning. However, I think the chief undermining piece to his study is that most individuals do not belong to only one blog. And if the study were to be done on aggregators of multiple blogs, than I believe different questions and concerns may have been raised or alleviated. I am a big fan of aggregated analysis like macroeconomic market bets. After all it was this philosophy and mentality that gave George Soros his fortune. AaronEttl 15:39, 1 April 2013 (EDT)