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Hi, what type of annotation do you visualize should be taking place on this page (just to help me synchronize my activities here)?-Sam Rose

Hey Sam! I'm open to anything really, i just thought it would be nice to further develop this article collaboratively to see where goes. If something comes up that is beyond the scope of 'stigmergic collaboration' or a divergent thread emerges, then we can create new pages to accomodate that content. I guess the idea is that this site runs with pretty much the same approach as wikipedia.org (so i relinquish my sole control of authorship of this instance of this article, but not my right to collaboratively coauthor), but the focus is on the development of 'collaboration theory' - whatever that means :-). Mark Elliott 05:36, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Examples of Stigmergic Collaboration-Examples of Stigmergic Encoding Edit

I think it might help capture imaginations, and also give us some insight if we list and describe some examples of stigmergic collaboration here. One article that you link to in the paper gives the World Wide Web as one example. This is probably the best human example on a very large scale to date.

I wonder however, if we can find other examples from history? perhaps examples that predate the WWW?

Agreed - more examples needed. I've done a bit of research on this for my thesis lately, and I've come up with a few interesting tid bits which I'll post here and you can incorporate them. Or, I will do so in a weeks time - heading into the outback for a project tomorrow - no net access yikes! ;-).
  • "Chemical trails that are produced by some ants species, muleteer trail networks, and even dirt tracks and trail systems in man result from interactions of this kind." (p. 102, Brief History of Stigmergy, Guy Theraulaz & Eric Bonabeau, Artifical Life 5: 97-116, 1999).
  • Illegal garbage dumps - see comment posted by Dylan Shell on 2003-08-31 on http://bitworking.org/news/Stigmergy Mark Elliott 14:54, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Also, it seems to me that relatively smaller-scale swarming tactics, like this response by people on behalf of Theo de Raadt, or the mobbing tactics that some people working with free republic frequently use, or the recent example of Mob rule on China's Internet: The keyboard as weapon all appear to be related to what we are discussing here as stigmergy. The reason why I see these examples as related is because a "signal" was put out (Stigmergic Encoding?) and certain people who did not directly communicate with the signaler acted based on subtle hints or direct suggestions.

So, to summarize what I am talking about above, I could publish a website about my poor experience with company XYZ, and I could suggest that people call, email, or write company xyz and complain to them. And this could stigmergically encode WWW medium, and possibly thousands of people who I never talk to might take up my suggestion.

From the same article above:
  • "Stigmergy refers to a class of mechanisms that mediate animal-animal interactions. Therefore, it has to be supplemented with an additional mechanism that makes use of these interactions to coordinate and regulate collective building in a particular way. At least two such mechanisms have been identified: quantitative stigmergy [1, 9, 11] and qualitative stigmergy [43, 44]. With quantitative stigmergy, the stimulus-response sequence comprises stimuli that do not differ qualitatively (such as pheromone fields and gradients) and only modify the probability of response of the individuals to these stimuli. Qualitative stigmergy differs from quantitative stigmergy in that individuals interact through, and respond to, qualitative stimuli." (p. 104-5) - I'll post more on this when i get back, in a week, but i think this may relate to what you're describing. Mark Elliott 14:54, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Not to say that stigmergic collaboration among humans is limited to suggestion-based encoding. I am trying to think of examples beyond suggestion-based encoding. Perhaps we can call them "action-based encoding"? Examples where no subtle or overt "call" has been made for stigmergic collaboration.

Good stuff here - i'll give it some thought and get back soon! Mark Elliott 14:54, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

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