Today’s guest blogger is Oskari Nokso-Koivisto, artistic director, FinderBase.
For last few days I have been in Urbania in Italy. Urbania is a town with 7000 inhabitants. Weather is nice, food and wine are excellent and people are relaxed. At least so far it seems that stereotypes about a small Italian town are a reality here.
My reason to be here is to study Italian opera. We have 18 singers rehearsing for example parts of Cosi fan Tutte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Simon Boccanegra. To sing Italian opera, you have to be familiar with the Italian culture as well.
An amazing quality in Urbania is, that even as I have walked quite lot, I haven’t seen a single lost item. My guess is that if a community is small enough to be able to communicate efficiently about lost items in traditional ways. Everyone basically knows everything important all the time. Of course taking advantage of that kind of communicaton is not easy for visitors who are not part of the community.
The problem of lost items must have begun at the same time when the idea of ownership came into existence. In the small communities the problem can be solved in the ways it seems to be done in Urbania. However, the world has changed and is still changing in a fast pace. Towns and cities are growing. Most of the world population is living in environments, where it is impossible to know everything. In those environments we need innovations to solve the communication problems.
In July I will be in Rome, home of 3.5 million people. My guess is, that the lost item problem in Rome is not solved as well as it is here in Urbania. There will be work for FinderBase to do, I presume.
The Internet is a silly place. Most people do silly stuff in the Internet at least most of the time.
I’m not an exception.
If you’re building a community in the Internet, the very least you should do is to think about your own behavior. Would you use your own service if it was designed by someone else?
Here’s my current contribution to the humanity via Internet communities:
- Geocaching and Geocaching.fi Wiki. According to my Geocaching.com profile page (needs login), I’ve found 3,099 caches and hidden 99 of them. In the Wiki, I’ve written dozens of articles and made hundreds of edits. None of this work really has any value outside the Geocaching community. And quite frankly, some of it doesn’t have value in it either.
- EuroBillTracker. This is a community that probably makes the least sense of anything I’ve done. According to my profile I’ve manually entered the serial numbers of 4,048 euro bills to the system. 117 of which were also entered by another member of the community.
- OpenStreetMap. According to my profile page, I’ve posted around 500 change sets to the community edited map. If an average set is about 20 changes that would make my grand total around 10,000 edits. Most of my edits have been manually copying features from aerial maps to be used on OpenStreetMap.
- Wikipedia. I’ve done a few changes in both the Finnish and English Wikipedias. The contributors of Wikipedia have done a really good job and nowadays the articles mostly make sense. That’s probably why I never became a huge contributor.
- PartioWiki. According to my profile in PartioWiki, I have contributed around 500 edits. I basically concentrated on correcting spelling and grammatic errors in the articles.
It would be easy to say that all of this “contribution” has been utter waste of time.
But I refuse to say that.
I’ve started this project partly because I’ve seen what the Internet is capable of. Ultimately, every great Internet community is about something silly. You have to at feel first-hand what a community feels like. If you’ve never done anything silly yourself, you might be limiting your thinking to the things that aren’t silly enough to be remarkable.