Unintended Product

We've created a hypertext unbound to any specific purpose but equipped with mechanism to find and respond to coincidence. Can we now see a new product of the human mind and study it as if it were a new material?

Wiki has been a collaborative writing space that benefits from a clear charter held and interpreted by its authors. Without a sense of progress towards a goal the contributors have little motivation to return day after day.

Federated wiki shares this need for purpose at the level of individual work or small collaborations. But the mechanisms by which we have chosen to share can scale beyond anyone's immediate need. We are just now beginning to see unintended but positive consequences of this mode of production.

We've chosen to separate titles from locations. We've defended this design decision with arguments about longevity and flexibility recognizing that the ambiguity thus produced could be glossed over with affordances like alerting of twins within the neighborhood.

We've amassed an uncoordinated body of work consisting of 50,000 written or suggested titles. A modest number of representational conventions allow us to survey this collection as a single loosely-bound whole.

That any sense of place or purpose shows through this network of titles suggests that something unexpectedly substantial has been constructed.