Yesterday at the Santa Barbara Forum on Digital Transitions, I had a chance to pick Clay Shriky’s brain about online consensus and what it means to bring about consensus in an online community. We didn’t come up with much revolutionary other than what we’ve already been doing: Watch a lively discussion (perhaps flame war) arise and subside. Then pick through the rubble to see if something akin to a consensus was found. If so, great. If not, wait a little while and ask the same question over while framing it better in light of the last discussion. Repeat as necessary and involve evil overlord as last resort.
Clay did share a quote from David Clark that was very fitting to our discussion:
“We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code.”
While its not perfect, it does show what we do about 98% of the time.
P.S. I was video blogged too — take a look: I won’t stand still while enthusiastically spouting off about MusicBrainz.