January 4, 2007 at 4:17 pm | Posted in knowledge management, social software | Leave a comment

Check out Stowe Boyd’s posting on GroupSystems Thinktank. If you haven’t read about swarms before, this is a good introduction. In the back of my head, two issues raise yellow flags for me:

  1. It is hard for me to picture than an attempt, however organic, to rate everyone’s contribution to an idea can work. If you’ve ever been in a fast paced brainstorming session you know that there are ideas thrown out that may be totally off base, but happen to spark an idea in the right direction. Is the off base idea’s owner granted points then? Answering yes or no to that introduces problems.
  2. While I appreciate the notion of a very granular meritocracy in brainstorming, I still feel the “loudmouth” problem exists. Just as verbal discussions can be skewed by people’s verbal skills, online discussions can be skewed by people’s writing skills. Some people are simply able to quickly spit out a full page argument with wonderful structure and potent wording very quickly. Their arguments may be wrong, but the flaws are so difficult to pin down that they evade detection since they require such a great deal of effort to fight.

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