What has been the coolest example of collaborative technology at Williams in the last 24 hours? Easy! The Co-Op 2006 Pick page at Willipedia. See our previous discussion. Comments:

1) It was very interesting to watch the conversation happen in real time. You can see the history of changes made to the page here. Kudos to everyone for the maturity and honesty displayed. Given that most people were willing to reveal their identity, there is no reason not to make everything public next year.

2) Good luck to all. It might make sense for students to gather 30 minutes ahead of time so that they might all have a chance to talk.

3) Best part:

In order to increase the likelihood that housemates from different groups will get along, you’re encouraged to describe the social environment that your group envisions. However, when doing so, you’re discouraged from employing sly intimidation tactics under the guise of straightforwardness in an attempt to scare others away from your favorite house. Such tactics are decidedly not the way of the Eph.

Very true! Now, there are tricky issues here about whether or not the College should take account of the tendency of different groups to contribute to campus-wide social life by throwing parties, but, if that were to be done, it should have been done before this stage in the process. Indeed, a better process would include these sorts of externalities. But, at this stage, what is done is done. The highest picks should get their picks without regard to implicit threats about partiers who will pick in after them.

4) Funniest line from the group near the bottom (and, therefore, unlikely to get anything): “MILHAM!!!!!!!!!! WERE CONFIDENT THAT WE’LL GET IT!!”

5) Exercise for the reader: Create an animation which loops through each edit to the history of the page and displays the changes in various colors in the order in which they occur. A visual representation of a virtual conversation would be quite stunning.

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