- Aug 2022
On the Internet there are many collective projects where users interact only by modifying local parts of their shared virtual environment. Wikipedia is an example of this. The massive structure of information available in a wiki, or an open source software project such as the FreeBSD kernel could be compared to a termite nest; one initial user leaves a seed of an idea (a mudball) which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept, eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.
Just as eusocial creatures like termites create pheromone infused mudballs which evolve into pillars, arches, chambers, etc., a single individual can maintain a collection of notes (a commonplace book, a zettelkasten) which contains memetic seeds of ideas (highly interesting to at least themselves). Working with this collection over time and continuing to add to it, modify it, link to it, and expand it will create a complex living community of thoughts and ideas.
Over time this complexity involves to create new ideas, new structures, new insights.
Allowing this pattern to move from a single person and note collection to multiple people and multiple collections will tend to compound this effect and accelerate it, particularly with digital tools and modern high speed communication methods.
(Naturally the key is to prevent outside selfish interests from co-opting this behavior, eg. corporate social media.)
The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony.
Just as a trail of pheromones serves the function of a shared external memory for an ant colony, annotations can create a set of associative trails which serve as an external memory for a broader human collective memory. Further songlines and other orality based memory methods form a shared, but individually stored internal collective memory for those who use and practice them.
Vestiges of this human practice can be seen in modern society with the use and spread of cultural memes. People are incredibly good at seeing and recognizing memes and what they communicate and spreading them because they've evolved to function this way since the dawn of humanity.
Stigmergy (/ˈstɪɡmərdʒi/ STIG-mər-jee) is a mechanism of indirect coordination, through the environment, between agents or actions.
Example: ant pheromone paths
Within ants, there can be a path left for others to follow, but what about natural paths in our environment that influence us to take them because of the idea of the "path of least resistence" or the effects of having paved cow paths.
Similarly being lead by "the company that you keep".
relathionship to research on hanging out with fat people tending to make one fatter.
The term "stigmergy" was introduced by French biologist Pierre-Paul Grassé in 1959 to refer to termite behavior. He defined it as: "Stimulation of workers by the performance they have achieved." It is derived from the Greek words στίγμα stigma "mark, sign" and ἔργον ergon "work, action", and captures the notion that an agent’s actions leave signs in the environment, signs that it and other agents sense and that determine and incite their subsequent actions.
Theraulaz, Guy (1999). "A Brief History of Stigmergy". Artificial Life. 5 (2): 97–116. doi:10.1162/106454699568700. PMID 10633572. S2CID 27679536.
- artificial life
- evolution of order
- commonplace books
- extended mind thesis
- Big History
- path of least resistence
- paving cow paths
- networked commonplace books
- associative trails
- note taking
- augmented collective intelligence
- collective intelligence
- complexity theory
- spontaneous order
- swarm intelligence
- collective memory
- Pierre-Paul Grassé
- nature vs. nurture
- orality and memory
- Jul 2022
What these communities have in common is that they collectively produce very useful—and typically high-quality—applications and information, but this without any financialcompensation or legal organization. In other words, these communities consist purely of volunteerscontributing on an informal basis to a common project. From the perspective of traditionaleconomics and organizational theory, this is paradoxical (Heylighen, 2007): why would anyoneprovide such valuable services to others without being either paid or ordered to do so? Severalauthors have investigated the motives that incite people to contribute to such communities (Ghosh,2005; Lerner & Tirole, 2002; Weber, 2004). These include curiosity, altruism, free expression, needfor belonging, desire for status and recognition, and the hope for future financial rewards for privateconsultancy after being publicly recognized for one’s expertise. More interesting for our purposethan these individual motivations, though, are the structures and processes that encourageindividuals to take part in such a collective enterprise, i.e. the underlying mobilization system.A first analysis (Heylighen, 2007) points at two fundamental mechanisms: feedback andstigmergy. By contributing a question, comment, answer, program, photo or any other input,participants hope to get a reaction from the other community members, because that would givethem an indication of whether they are on the right path, or need to make some correction. Suchfeedback provides valuable information that allows participants to get better in whatever they areinterested in. For example, a programmer who contributed a piece of code will benefit if a userpoints out a bug in that code, suggests a way to extend it, or simply confirms that the job was welldone.Stigmergy is a mechanism of spontaneous coordination between actions, where the result ofan individual’s work stimulates a next individual to continue that work (Parunak, 2006; Bolici,Howison, & Crowston, 2009; Heylighen, 2011a). For example, a paragraph contributed to aWikipedia article may incite a later reader of that paragraph to add a reference or further detail,which in turn may elicit further contributions from others.
Feedback and stigmergy are two key motivations for contributing to online communities.
Recently a number of techniques have been developed that stimulate people to act towards specificobjectives. These include persuasive technologies, gamification, user experiences, and various methods andtools used in open-source and other communities to encourage and organize participation. After surveyingvarious examples of such applications, we generalize these approaches by proposing a new theoreticalframework. The basic concept is a mobilization system, defined as an ICT environment that motivates andcoordinates the actions of people, so as to increase their focus and commitment, while minimizing distraction,hesitation and procrastination. We then analyze the fundamental mechanisms of (individual) motivation and(collective) coordination, starting from Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow and the mechanism of stigmergy.The basic requirements are clear goals in line with real needs, immediate and rich feedback, challenges inbalance with the user’s skill levels, and a shared workspace in which all tasks and results are registered forevery contributor to see. We conclude our review of mobilization systems by pointing out their potentialdangers, such as addiction and political or commercial exploitation, as well as their potential benefits, indomains such as work, health, education and research
Definition: An ICT environment that motivates and coordinates the actions of people, so as to increase their focus and commitment, while minimizing distraction, hesitation and procrastination
Q1: How to motivate individuals? Q2: How to coordinate the collective?
Analyzed using: 1. Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow <br /> 2. stigmergy
- Oct 2017
- Jun 2016
The future of the sustainable development of effective OER will be characterized by stigmergy. Stigmergy is the watchword for the next decade of OER.
Noticed the claim, at the time, forgot the term. Was trying to retrieve it and that was a bit difficult without a deeper understanding of what it covers. Not too surprising that it’d come up in technocentrist contexts.