Duplication of information costs time. The writer’s time is wasted writing something that was already written, and the reader’s time is wasted when they must find the site they want amongst myriad alternatives.
Consolidate duplicate information.
The consolidation need not be absolute; often there are reasons to have some duplication. ConsolidateInformation says that we should strive for less redundancy, not no redundancy.
There is tremendous redundancy in our world. Right now, as you read this, one thousand people around the world are carrying out some tired argument that has already been recorded to it’s full extent in one hundred places. One thousand people are making new collaboration sites, hoping each that one thousand people will flock to their pages to record one thousand pieces of wisdom about the world. One thousand programmers are striving each to rewrite the same ten key algorithms. One thousand professional authors are writing one thousand books, collectively writing the solution to one hundred problems. None of the books will appear on-line, until ten forward thinking individuals will write the one (or ten) books to address the lack.
Consolidating information provides time savings in many ways.
The idea of consolidating information appears in many forms, from the businessman’s checklist (ensuring she doesn’t repeat the labor of racking her brains for missing items), to the programmer’s refactoring (Wiki:OnceAndOnlyOnce).
One particular kind of redundancy exists when the writers of similar information do not know about each other. If the information is a Wiki, sooner or later someone will add links connecting the two isolated communities.
If the whole web were a wiki, redundant websites would be merged. No more would you hunt for a certain topic and find 200 web sites, many of which duplicate the same information. You would search the WWW (world wide wiki) and find 200 WikiPages, many of which point to the single canonical WikiPage dealing with your query. There would be 20 duplications of the same information, not 200, but more importantly most of these duplications point to the canonical page that you are looking for.
(not that a WorldWideWiki would be better than the WWW; it is good that the web provides other modes of information than a Wiki)
Benefits of LessRedundancy:
(there are some drawbacks; see MeatBall:LessRedundancy)
See ReworkingProblems for why this process doesn’t always/can’t always happen.
We should also note that, to ConsolidateInformation, you need a level of trust for the location that you are consolidating information to. If ConsolidateInformation works and happens on a major scale, the more important core concepts will have to become entrusted.
This may mean that we may need to be able to “harden” pages (WikiFeatures:IdeasToPlace #118,) it may mean that we may need to be able to have some securities that servers won’t go down, or that backups are being located on multiple servers. Maybe we need to establish simple software to regularly pull down duplicates of the PageDatabase, and establish protocol in the event of a problem.