Saturday, February 03, 2007

Millions of Penguins

The Debian project has thousands of contributors - package maintainers, documentation writers, programmers, and possibly even an infinite number of monkeys. Who can say for sure. I mean, I could, if those damn monkeys would stand still for a moment and let me count them.

Likewise, the Linux kernel has thousands of contributors. Ditto Firefox. Software projects have proven themselves extremely well suited to a distributed model.

Enter A Million Penguins, an effort to create a novel via a collaborative wiki. Anybody can contribute. Anybody can edit.

This seems like a really really bad idea. Awful. Novel writing is a task ideally suited to a single person - two if you count the editor. Seriously, throwing unlimited personnel at a one-person task is a recipe for insanity.

". . . more than six people cannot agree on anything, three is better, and one is perfect for a job that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who dominated the rest."
-- Robert Heinlein

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