Ripe for ReFactoring

Jonathon Delacour was wary of CollectiveCreativity at first, but he recounts a wiki epiphany

It's probably a key element that people in TheCommunity have the same interests and the same goals. It helps with the inspiration [and with innovation?], if a person is good in one subject and not in another it becomes problematic. TheCommunity can't grow.

It's good for everyone to be on the same page. Knowledge about the same ideas can promote a wealth of knowledge on the subject. You can't have people going off into 50 million different directions. Why Not? KevinMcColley

Wikis help creativity grow by each strand of information compiled and having TheCommunity monitor what's being written. If something doesn't work, TheCommunity lets you know and you have to TrustTheirJudgement Why? The majority of people once thought the world was flat and that slavery was a good idea. Shouldn't the vision of the individual count for something? KevinMcColley. You have to go back and redesign your thoughts and rethink what has been said. When TheCommunity shares in your endeavors and ideas, you become a better scholar. A better thinker.

CollectiveCreativity helps one become a better writer and great thinker. It also helps people stay on the right page. This makes me queasy. To write "great thinker" and "stay on the right page" in successive sentences is diametrically opposed. I'm so glad Einstein didn't stay on the right page, to give only one example.KevinMcColley There is always someone in TheCommunity to give you a nudge back onto the path if you should wander off. TheCommunity is an excellent police officer to make sure everyone is not only writing on the level of CollectiveCreativity, but being able to stay on track and focused.One miscue could send TheCommunity into a tailspin. How might they help people work together creatively? I would love to know who wrote this paragraph. A member of the Thought Police?

No, creativity doesn't have to be individualized, but where does the beginning of creativity come from? An individual. An individual has to come up with the idea or thought process. Everything has to have a beginning, right? TheCommunity doesn't write about the thought process or idea all at once. If everyone thought on the same level, or had the same idea, where would the knowledge come from? Isn't the entire idea of the Wiki to promote threads of knowledge?

If individualization is not behind the idea of a Wiki, why have it then? We wouldn't have to be a group of thinkers. He with the loudest voice would rule, without any thoughts from TheCommunity. Individualization promotes the CollectiveCommunity. With creativity, one also must be able to accept criticism. Critcism helps for improvement. It helps with the all around look of the wiki as well as the material it contains.

Offers of critcisim show involvement within TheCommunity. Criticism shows writers are interested in CollectiveKnowledge and IntegrityAndHonesty. Without this, you don't have TrustInTheWorld. You can't add your TwoCentsWorth without expecting to get some of it back in your face.

Rebecca Blood, in Chapter 6 of her book, says you can't blog to fan the flames. If someone offends you and offers criticism that is unwarranted walk away. But there has to be TrustInTheWiki in order to have a ground floor of good criticism. Everyone is working for the same cause to improve the project.

The thought of "collective creativity" doesn't strike one as odd. In fact, a first response to such an idea was, "Of course, collective creativity is much more productive than the creativity of one single individual."

A good example is the staff of writers for a television show. A TV show is not written by one individual, by themselves, without outside input. If this were the case, the show would get boring, stale and redundant all too quickly. It takes an entire staff of writers to make a TV show successful. Every writer brings a different talent, view and idea to the table. Someone has a certain knack for coming of with brilliant plot lines, while another writes ingenius jokes, and another knows how to write situations that will make the characters grow and develop over a season. Not one of the writers comes with the exact same idea. They all have something different to contribute. This may be, but the vast majority of television shows are crap, especially compared to novels written by individuals. KevinMcColley

It's the same way with wikis. Everyone involved has something different to contribute. They all bring new ideas to the table causing the wiki to change on a day to day basis. And this is what keeps wikis from becoming stale, boring or redundant. They're constantly changing; there's always something new to see...and that's what makes people come back for more.

The way I see it, collective creativity is the best way to generate new ideas. And like the saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." Or three heads or four heads or five.


Or nine or ten like we have in this class. All the great ideas and innovations in this world are brought about through collective creativity. Another way to look at this might be to think of it as teamwork. And our society needs to be based on teamwork in order to survive. Yes, one person can change the world, but he or she undoubtedly needs help to do it.

The wiki we are building here is the perfect example of collective creativity. One might even say it borders on BarnRaising.


CollectiveCreativity is something that allows for instant feedback at any time. Someone could write on the wiki and within hours have someone forcing a new perspective that was overlooked previously. I think that for a CollectiveCreativityProject to work, one must realize and understand that their words are not the LastWord. ~JustinLillich

CollectiveCreativity requires maturity. Creativity is often seen as internal, sacred, and owned by an individual. Releasing your thoughts involves releasing your ego. I find many people have trouble not being able to let go of that praise.

It seems that for many people creativity is, if not exactly sacred, at least a means to comfort. When I write something, I'm creating a world for myself where, unlike in the "real" world, I feel in control of everything that happens. (Whether I'm actually in control is, I suppose, a philosophical question.) Collective creativity allows another person access to that world, which jeopardizes my comfort unless the person is someone I can trust: the Ben Affleck to my Matt Damon. A friend. A more or less like-minded wiki community can fill that role, I think, but it changes much of the creative process. Importantly, it is our world from the beginning, and that alters the individual writer's relationship to it. I also wonder what effect collective creativity has on the WritersVoice. AmberLuck

CollectiveCreativity allows individual simple thoughts to become networked complex theories. The majority of inventions are constructed from multiple inputs. An idea in itself is formed through pre-existing concepts.

One good thing about wikis when using CollectiveCreativity is that you can edit what anyone says so if a person says something offending or inappropriate. I hate when you see someone who knows very little about the subject give their opinion very rude and forcibly it makes them sound just plain stupid.

The theory of weak links (or ties) applies well to the CollectiveCreativity (Should that be typed as a WikiWord just so it can be linked to this very page?) of wikis. The wonderful point of this gathering of knowledge is that everyone has a slightly different idea, and the farther away we get from the main group who know a particular wiki's topic, the more knowledge can be assimilated.

In regards to the main idea here, I have heard tell of wikis being used to document collaborative fantasy universes. In the example I heard, I still believe one person (you could say the original author) was a moderator for this. So there was someone overseeing it and making sure people were generally following TheRules. I still think it's interesting that someone would open up their own creation like that for the input/editing of others. Also, in regards to what LaurenOlson said above, I think that is a very interesting power of wikis. Who decides what is offending or inappropriate? I suppose that would be the larger CommunityConsensus. It can be frustrating if you're not one of the ones that agree with the majority, though. It might even be a little oppressive! Hmm...

I like what Orie is talking about. The Internet is such a large community that it is impossible to find a general consensus of "AppropriateContent." Everyone has different perspectives and morals and ideas that you could never set a definitive set of rules for anything. I also agree with Lauren however. A wiki with false information is troublesome to everyone

A wiki is CollectiveCreativity, but in a sense this is simplifying a complex concept. Wikis are a collaborative effort, with each input coming from a separate (supposedly savvy) source. As from above, “everyone is working for the same cause to improve the project.” There are too many issues, however, with the idea that everyone’s input is creative and unique. After all, most of our ideas are concepts, though individualized to us, are built upon those we have borrowed from other sources.

Another issue is the definition of creativity itself. Some hold their creative works or words very close to heart, believing that all creative output has some sort of label of personal ownership. Above is quoted “creativity is often seen as internal, sacred, and owned by an individual.” The wiki goes against the very grain of this belief. Our output is no longer our own, but a piece of a larger whole that is shared by everyone, a “barn-raising” of ideas which leads to the formation of a project that needs a group to succeed. And furthermore, our output has not only become property of the public instead of the individual, it also is put up to public scrutiny. Is all creative output that surfaces on a wiki object to public scrutiny? All would answer: yes.

Above was stated that our “2 cents worth gets some of it back in our face,” alluding to the fact that we agree to the consequences of our participation in this project. Though we no longer own the content that we have given, we must still take responsibility for its role in the larger piece of work and be prepared for someone to point, click, and delete.

I hope this conversation is morphing into something differentiated from its original posting, so that the focus is on creativity and not on TheCommunity monitoring that creativity and what is appropriate and what isn't and who needs to get back on the proper path. The problem with trying to create a creative work through community is that it will always get reduced to the lowest common denominator, and the lowest common denominator is always dull and uncreative, which makes the wiki self-defeating. Creativity never begins as a collaborative effort--it always begins with the individual. Once the individual creates something, then in a collaborative effort that something gets defined and refined by TheCommunity. So what TheCommunity needs to always have very clearly in mind is the ways it will allow itself to define and to refine, and those need to be determined before a collaborative creative effort is even attempted.

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