Now there is news that Wikipedia is moving a bit closer to intelligent design with the implementation of a checker system to verify that changes are not vandalism. The system has been in use on the German site and that site’s administrator will talk about how it’s going Friday at Wikimania 2008 in Alexandria, Egypt. As you might expect given the size of the Wikipedia sites, this effort involves so many checkers (about 3,000), that the checker system itself seems like the hive mind. While no doubt a hot topic at the conference, I see this as simply the ongoing evolution of Wikipedia as it sorts out that right balance between hive mind and intelligent design.
A few months ago I wrote about a Kevin Kelly post on editors vs. the hive mind, in which he talked about the “elite center” of Wikipedia. His point was that even the internet’s most cited example of the hive mind has some design to it, and that content winners will ultimately be some combination of hive mind and intelligent design.