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Peer production (also known as mass collaboration) is a way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals. In such communities, the labor of a large number of people is coordinated towards a shared outcome.

Overview[edit]

Peer production is a process taking advantage of new collaborative possibilities afforded by the internet and has become a widespread mode of labor.[1] Free and open source software are two examples of peer production. One of the earliest instances of networked peer production is Project Gutenberg, a project in which volunteers make out-of-copyright works available online.[2] Examples include Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, and Linux, a computer operating system. For-profit enterprises mostly use partial implementations of peer production, and would include such sites as Flickr, Etsy, Digg, and Delicious.[citation needed] Peer production refers to the production process on which the previous examples are based. Commons-based peer production is a subset of peer production.

Peer production occurs in a socio-technical system which allows thousands of individuals to effectively cooperate to create a non-exclusive given outcome.[3] These collective efforts are informal. Peer production is a collaborative effort with no limit to the amount of discussion or changes that can be made to the product. However, as in the case of Wikipedia, a large amount, in fact the majority, of this collaborative effort is maintained by very few devoted and active individuals.[4]

Applications[edit]

Crowdsourcing products such as community cookbooks are a form of peer production. Gooseberry Patch[5] has used its customer/friend community to create its line of exclusive cookbooks for over 18 years.

Peer production has also been utilized in producing collaborative Open Educational Resources (OERs). Writing Commons, an international open textbook spearheaded by Joe Moxley at the University of South Florida, has evolved from a print textbook into a crowd-sourced resource for college writers around the world.[6] Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms have also generated interest in building online eBooks. The Cultivating Change Community (CCMOOC) at the University of Minnesota is one such project founded entirely on a grassroots model to generate content.[7] In 10 weeks, 150 authors contributed more than 50 chapters to the CCMOOC eBook and companion site.[8] The Peer to Peer University has applied peer production principles to online open learning communities and peer learning.

Criticism[edit]

Several critics have challenged the prevailing optimism with which peer production is viewed.

Daniel Kreiss, Megan Finn, and Fred Turner criticize the consensus perspective on peer production as utopian. Asserting that this new mode of production challenges the traditional form of bureaucracy, they reference Max Weber’s analysis of modern bureaucracy and urge urge that this analysis be applied to peer production. They argue that bureaucracy is better equipped to handle social problems than peer production, which they consider unsustainable. As bureaucracy promotes a rationally organized, rule-oriented functioning of society, Kreiss, Finn, and Turner claim that peer production undermines this aspect due to its tendency to encourage individual behavior based on private morality. This tendency, they argue, degrades autonomy by “collapsing public and private boundaries,” allowing people’s professional lives to extend into their private domains.[9]

Other critics claim that the participatory nature of peer production is apt to generate misinformation and products of inferior quality. In his book The Cult of the Amateur, Andrew Keen assesses peer-produced content on the Internet and asserts that it exists as a “smokescreen” which emptily promises more truth and deeper knowledge, but actually leading to the disappearance of truth. According to Keen, the Internet advocates peer production to a questionable degree by permitting anyone to post information freely. This form of peer production, he cautions, leaves room for people to plagiarize ideas and distort original thoughts, which he says ultimately creates an uncertainty in the validity of information.[10]

Another critic, Jaron Lanier, cites Wikipedia as an example of how dependence on mass collaboration may result in unreliable or biased information. He warns that websites like Wikipedia promote the notion of the “collective” as all knowing, and that this concentrated influence stands in direct contrast to representative democracy.[11]

In addition to these adversarial views, some critics assert that peer production does not perform as well in some contexts as it does in others.[12] Paul Duguid suggests that peer production works less efficiently outside of software development, stating that continued reliance on peer production in various domains of information production will necessitate a search for new ways to guarantee quality.[2] Yochai Benkler similarly proposes that peer production may produce functional works like encyclopedias more proficiently than creative works.[12] Despite the valuable potential of peer production, several critics continue to doubt extensive collaboration and its ability to yield high quality outputs.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benkler, Yochai (April 2003). "Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information". Duke Law Journal 52 (6): 1245. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Duguid, Paul (2006-10-02). "Limits of self-organization: Peer production and "laws of quality"". First Monday 11 (10). ISSN 1396-0466. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  3. ^ Benkler, Yochai and Nissenbaum Helen, "Commons based Peer Production and Virtue"
  4. ^ Huberman, Bernardo A, Wilkinson, Dennis M, Wu, Fang "Feedback loops of attention in peer production"
  5. ^ "Gooseberry Patch". Gooseberry Patch. 
  6. ^ "About.""Writing Commons". CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Anders, Abram (November 9, 2012). "Experimenting with MOOCs: Network-based Communities of Practice.". "Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing Conference". Mankato, MN. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ "About.""Cultivating Change Community". CC BY-NC 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Kreiss, Daniel; Finn, Megan; Turner, Fred. "The limits of peer production". Sage Journals. Sage. pp. 243–259. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Keen, Andrew (2007). The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture (3rd ed.). Crown Business. 
  11. ^ Lanier, Jaron (2010). You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 
  12. ^ a b c Benkler, Yochai; Shaw, Aaron; Mako Hill, Benjamin. "Peer Production: A Modality of Collective Intelligence". Retrieved 24 May 2014. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_production — Please support Wikipedia.
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68 news items

Daily Beast

Daily Beast
Sat, 18 Oct 2014 03:48:36 -0700

Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler dubbed Wikipedia, along with open-source software and other free collaborative projects, examples of “commons-based peer production.” He explained, “Its central characteristic is that groups of individuals successfully ...

Daily Beast

Daily Beast
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:45:00 -0700

Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler dubbed Wikipedia, along with open-source software and other free collaborative projects, examples of “commons-based peer production.” He explained, “Its central characteristic is that groups of individuals successfully ...

LSE Media Policy Project (blog)

LSE Media Policy Project (blog)
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Rather than using a fixed set of procedures to arrive at a pre-specified output goal, open source is characterized by commons-based peer production, a process that is 'decentralized, collaborative, and non-proprietary; based on sharing resources and ...

Gruene Jugend

Gruene Jugend
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:30:00 -0700

Sie sind hier. Themen » Wirtschaft & Soziales » Decroissance, Commons, Suffizienz, ShareEconomy, Peer-to-Peer-Production...!? Decroissance, Commons, Suffizienz, ShareEconomy, Peer-to-Peer-Production...!? Blogartikel. veröffentlicht von Praktikum am ...
 
Scoop.co.nz
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:48:42 -0700

The impact of the NFP model is likely to be even more transformative when combined with forms of peer-to-peer production, collaborative consumption, and the revitalisation of small businesses serving local communities. Maclurcan's statistics detailing ...

Forum:Blog - The World Economic Forum (blog)

Forum:Blog - The World Economic Forum (blog)
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:25:26 -0700

Many of the advances that created the Internet and its services occurred in this fashion, which the Harvard scholar Yochai Benkler has labeled “commons-based peer production.” The Internet allowed this form of collaboration to be practiced on a much ...

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