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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 26-Sep-07

 


Wednesday 26-September-07

Selfish vs. social

Wikipedia has, for some time now, been a glorious beacon of prosocial collaboration, where people give their time and knowledge for free in order to create a better world. Anyone could add and amend pages under an open trust that their motives were pure.

But no longer, it seems. Whilst many have been amazingly generous, a few have been driven by other motives, resulting in pollution and degradation of what has become the first port of call for many seekers of knowledge. Culprits have included political parties and government agencies, as well as commercial companies and individuals. Whether it is for reasons of propaganda, greed or simple mischief, the result is disproportionate damage to the reputation of what has become a global treasure.

And so it goes. Where the door is left open, the selfish few will spoil things for the social many, with the result that locks and controls are added and transaction costs escalate. Sad, indeed, but not a modern phenomenon, which is why we have laws and police. I suspect this will be a trend on the net, with escalating legislation and control to fight dishonesty and crime.

And so it goes as it has gone for centuries and probably millennia. The forces of order and chaos, law and crime, self and society, constantly duelling across the skies.

Perhaps the key question for each of us is which side we are on.


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