When used as a modifier, the words collaborative, cooperative, and collective are often used interchangeably. For example, one may speak of a collaborative effort and later refer to it as a collective effort. This is not necessarily a problem. In many cases, these terms can be loosely understood to mean that a group of people are involved and the conversation survives just fine.

However, in an environment such as CommunityWiki, the discussion may get quite specific about, well, groups of people. So perhaps it makes sense here to clarify.

Used to refer to something (such as effort or action) that is assembled or accumulated from individuals or individual actions. The individuals themselves are not necessarily involved or aware of the assembly or accumulation. For example, a collective decision to go to a movie may feel inclusive, but the collective wisdom of Google’s page rank algorithm is not assembled by or for the individual page authors.
Also working together, but through adherence to a set of shared rules or norms. Communication or coordination is not required. A market, or the way people appropriate goods from a commons are examples of such cooperation.
Implies that people are making efforts to work together and with purpose, usually around a mutual-agreed upon outcome or project such as collaborative TheoryBuilding, or BarnRaising.


Here’s another:

A collection of things that have been pulled together from many sources, that were definitely not originally made to fit together.

Keith, I hope you don’t take offense at my addition of “Collected.” I absolutely love this page.

I just read something TomAtlee? and GeorgePor? wrote, that said:

Clearly individual intelligence is not enough. And neither is simple collected intelligence – individual intelligences added together. If we wish to successfully deal with the various social and environmental challenges we face today, we need to develop far more collective intelligence as a society and as a global civilization – and then apply it with wisdom.

There is sometimes some value in mere accumulation, alone.

It is not clear to me whether TomAtlee? & GeorgePor? are thinking about what you are calling Collective, or more of what you would define as Cooperative, and at a political scale.

Is the ProjectSpace cooperative or collective? Not clear to me, immediately…

I think I need a diagram to help see these relationships clearly.

My feeling is

  • “cooperation/cooperative” is the most general term
  • ⇒ “collaborative” points to some common work/product/OBJECT
  • ⇒ “collective” points to some kind of common interaction/decision/ACTION.

Just one link: Will That Be Coordination, Cooperation, or Collaboration? - it defines collaboration as more specific than cooperation the opposite of what is proposed here.

nice link .

  • coordination ⇒ cooperation ⇒ collaboration
    • coordination = acting together
    • cooperation = coordination + x = working together
    • collaboration = cooperation + x = living together

as to collectiv (collected) i tend to:

  • collectiv (collected) ⇒ coordination (regulation) ⇒ cooperation ⇒ collaboration

Very excited to see this page become truly collaborative. I do believe our collective intelligence is making for better definitions than what was initially put out there. I mean, that’s the point, right?

  • :)

Collective, Collaborative, Cooperative, Coordinated, Collected, …

heh, that’s your shortest statement, i’ve ever seen .

I updated the cooperation definition based on conversation. Also trying to pull in a couple visuals and rework this page.

Define external redirect: TomAtlee GeorgePor

EditNearLinks: BarnRaising