Over the first five seasons, “brain trusts,” which may be as small as twenty people or as large as a few hundred participants, had emerged as offshoots of the Survivor Sucks site. These “brain trusts” do much of their most hard-core investigation through password-protected sites. Think of these “brain trusts” as secret societies or private clubs, whose members are handpicked based on their skills and track records. Those who are left behind complain about the “brain drain,” which locks the smartest and most articulate posters behind closed doors. The brain trusts, on the other hand, argue that this closed-door vetting process protects privacy and ensures a high degree of accuracy once they do post their findings.
The people who were involved in the brain trusts provided information that was critical to the people of the Survivor spoiler community. Working together using various skills and jobs (travel agent, scientist-types who could identify the flora and fauna in promo pictures, and countless computer geeks) they were able to identify locations, contestants, challenges, the order in which the tribe spoke about people, and, other pieces of Survivor knowledge. Without them, crucial bits and pieces might never have been uncovered.
However, while their “final club” atmosphere allowed the to do this, it was also alienating to the rest of the community. Yes, their absence might have meant less information being exposed, but perhaps what was exposed would have been done in a much more friendly and open fashion. I see both sides here. For the spoiler community, getting that information was of the utmost importance, whatever it took. However, having been a part of elite subgroups in internet groups (or subgroups), it’s also just cool. I don’t believe for a second that the participants of these password-protected groups didn’t (don’t) also get a thrill out of having those passwords. And this is probably not a healthy way to have collective intelligence. A hierarchy is not conducive to having information shared.
My wiki entry was hard, as I missed two classes. But, I think my contributions were legitimate, and vital to the collective intelligence part. I took on a sort of editor-in-chief role, combining our individual pieces into a final page, trying to standardize how we wrote, how we cited, how we formatted. I also offered the point of view of someone who paid enormous attention to the election which we were discussing.
I thought that, for us at least, having it split into clear sections, and having our own page for each, worked well. We were able to each write our piece and then collaborate, rather than trying to work on top of each other. It also meant we could all be editing at once.
For collaborating with the other entries, I took my knowledge, the things I am familiar with, and applied it. I didn’t edit the Star Wars chapter, because I don’t know Star Wars. I edit the Harry Potter chapter, because I know the books, I know the fanfic community, and I know the religious right, or wrong, as the case may be. 
Wiki is not my preferred form, at least not a wiki like this, where we all had to do it. Voluntary ones, where people who are interested come together on their own, may be different. But I still found this to be relatively fun, and would be interested in having it be a longer project, perhaps an entire course. Hint.
Contributions to the Harry Potter page
- Edited some typos, grammar
- Put in information about the religious people
- (Hopefully) clarified the problem with fanfic copyright
- Took out a couple of sentences that I couldn’t understand
1. I observed the NPOV (Neutral Point of View) principle in the wiki article and refrained from using the phrase “reactionary willfully ignorant scared-of-reality theocratic fascists”, but this is my blog, so…