Peer production

firstmonday has an interesting article about the limits of self-organization and “laws of quality”. Given 52 million tracks in the Gracenote database, 1 million entries in Wikipedia and 17,000 books in project Gutenberg, Paul Duguid throughly examines the two laws of quality

  • Linus law: “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” which means that almost every error will be discovered and ultimately fixed
  • Graham law: “people just produce whatever they want; the good stuff spreads, and the bad gets ignored”

Although more professionalized, similar principles operate in science. With these large genetic studies, I have the feeling that most errors occur at the interfaces, during hand-shaking of disciplines. There are certainly only a few people that can design a study, examine a patient, go to the laboratory, analyze and annotate the data and publish them. This means that even many eyeballs can not look around the corner and that it will take many years for the “good stuff to spread”. Yea, yea.