Twelve leverage points

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en:Donella Meadows' twelve places to intervene in a system applied to Wikipedia:

Donella Meadow on what she meant by feedback in her twelve leverage points :

Positive feedback loops are sources of growth, explosion, erosion, and col lapse in systems. A system with an unchecked positive loop ultimately will destroy itself.


The most interesting behavior that rapidly turning positive loop can trigger is chaos. This wild, umpredictable, unreplicable, and yet bounded behavior happens when a system starts changing much, much faster than its negative loops can react to it.

Where does writing articles fit into this paradigm?

giving content to articles is one of the goals, that is 3.
Writing articles has impacts all the way up and down the scale, so does reverting them, editing them, deleting them. Writing an article changes the number of articles in the system and number of links in the system to other articles (the "citation count" of "what links here" for instance) - which change the probabilities of flows from one area of the wikipedia to another. Then, the more interesting material there is in one area, the more people interested on this topic or m:value systems will come and edit articles in turn

And where doest awarding sysop status or taking sysop status away fit ?

There are neither nine nor twelve points, I'm a little confused here. :)

eh, good perception !
w:Donella Meadows first proposed a 9 level system in a meeting, then further refined it in a 12 points system.

There is a positive feedback loop at work:

  1. Google indexes Wikipedia
  2. This makes Wikipedia better known to readers
  3. This brings new editors (and potentially knowledge)
  4. This creates more and better articles
  5. This creates more links to Wikipedia, increasing our PageRank
  6. Then we get yet more google hits, so more editors again, etc

However, the increased database load from having more readers and editors increases connection times. This may drive our usual contributors away. In other words, points 9&10 act as a constraint on the system.

Another problem with getting many new editors is that it may bring more basic vandalism. This would take up all the time of experienced users trying to cope with vandalism and new comers welcoming and teaching. This behavior happens when a system starts changing much, much faster than its negative loops can react to it.