Google is becoming increasingly prone to Wikipedia. This is because Google’s PageRank algorithm, the method by which it ranks search pages, inherently succumbs to the basic structure and social structure of wikis.
The PageRank algorithm is most famously characterized as valuing links that are highly referred to by other people. It seems that is only part of the story. The PageRank algorithm values links to yourself more. That is, a website that has many pages and is densely inter-woven with links becomes a sort of PageRank machine. True, without other websites conferring a little bit of their PageRank onto it, that website will not have a high PageRank, but given enough of a small number of external links from mediocre websites pointing to your very large, densely interwoven website, your website will shoot up through the listings.
There is an important lesson hiding in the subtext here. On the Network, The power of people will kick the backside out of algorithms. While computer sciencey solutions are almost always gameable, communities are equally almost always resilient, adaptive, and intelligent.
The future of knowledge management is not data mining nor document object repositories; that is the science of dead information. The future is telling stories to each other, building knowledge together through those stories, and reshaping ourselves through those actions. That’s the vivid, active, powerful future of the Wiki Way.