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Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia   book icon  
by Joseph Reagle (2010)

read: 16 August 2010
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

I got a copy of this book as an advanced reader’s copy from a friend who runs a bookstore. I enjoyed it so much I wrote a fan letter to the author. Here’s the text of the email, by way of a book review.

Hey there -- just a brief fan letter to say that I just finished reading an ARC of Good Faith Collaboration and enjoyed it a lot. I run an online community called MetaFilter [well, I’m one of three people who mostly runs the site] and we’re constantly in the reinventing the wheel phase of doing a lot of our work. I am also a Wikipedian, though not a very active one, and it’s interesting to see the similarities between the communities as far as things that work, things that don’t and how things go wrong.

I usually dislike reading what people write about online communities because I think they tend to focus on details like amusing usernames or bumps in the road and ignore the overarching things like “Isn’t it a miracle that this sort of thing mostly works?” I found that you did a great job both explaining that hey it’s not perfect but at the same time showing some of the ways it works well. At the same time you weren’t a slavering dork about the “zomg human potential” transhumanism wankery that I find is often a big problem with people who are maybe a bit too into the online communities at the expense of the rest of their lives.

In any case, I read it start to finish including the footnotes and I hope many other people do too. I hope working with the smarties at the Berkman Center is as much fun as it looks like it will be.

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