It is a truth universally acknowledged that despite personal hard disks that can store more information than the average public library, new search technologies, multiple ways of organizing a lifetime of intellectual endeavor into files, and folders, and libraries, if you nevertheless set out to find one single known file on your laptop you will never, ever locate it. You will be condemned to an eternity of playing the “You know, I’m sure I remember I had a file about. . . ” game. Serendipity, however, still holds a powerful sway over our actions, and sometimes the fruitful search for what we knew once existed turns up something we had forgotten we’d ever had.
Such was the case recently when I was searching for an article I was sure that I had written a number of years ago. As I was about to conclude that I must have dreamed it, I stumbled across an antique e-mail in my draft folder, a message that I’d written back in October of 2005 but never sent. Why I never sent it I don’t remember. Clearly it was an e-mail that was involved in a rather intense discussion so maybe I was doing that all-too-rare of human actions: hesitating before I actually sent an e-mail. But since this is me, that is unlikely. Maybe I felt the discussion had been beaten to death or wouldn’t be of interest to others. Maybe I hadn’t finished the message, although it looks pretty complete to me now.
Whatever the reason, I was startled to find how closely the e-mail was reflecting many of my current reservations about the rise of the clowd. This post itself doesn’t explicitly concern games. But the Bioware/Hepler controversy that I wrote about in my last post has made me realize I need to pay some serious attention to one of the most pervasive myths of the technoosphere: that there is a wisdom in crowds.