The Cons of Mass Collaboration
Mark Elliott of the Media Culture Journal writes about collaboration and its importance but is also a critic of mass collaboration and defines it as stigmergic collaboration, meaning that without communication there can be no collaboration. It also means collaboration often evolves in stigmergic efforts, where one’s environment or beliefs influence or push the collaboration along.
For example, wiki websites may offer a mass collaborative opportunity, but with stigmergic collaborative efforts, the collaboration merely becomes more of opinions based on one’s environment. Some input is based on knowledge, but wiki sites mostly contain beliefs or ideas.
However, if a mass communication effort is needed to reach a goal or milestone, without this type of connected collaborating, how can tasks completed by outside teams be considered valued input?
Perhaps the criticisms of mass collaboration must include a look at the necessity of communication from multiple sources; but to use it effectively, it must be an organized framework designed to handle the collaboration in a positive and structured way.
No project will ever be successful if shared input isn’t organized and either utilized or disregarded and points to the common goal of project completion. If a project manager must utilize collaboration from many sources, in many locations, they must also take the time to develop a collaborative plan that is not only accessible but has guidelines the team must follow.
Mass collaboration through technology communication efforts can harm a project if the information is allowed to be an opportunity or opinion where there are no set rules. Therefore, the efficient project manager must set the rules for communication, what is acceptable, and how collaboration between teams will be accomplished.