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The tragedy of the commons in evolutionary biology (2007) [pdf] (kokkonuts.org)
38 points by lainon 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments

There’s a tragedy of commons problem in engineering. The engineering orgs collective ability to handle complexity is the community resource. Without safeguards in place this resource is squandered by engineers because the easy solution to a problem often paradoxically leads to higher complexity in the code base. Why? Because it’s easier to make ad-hoc new connections between things than to abide by a larger plan. And connections are the complexity.

One thing I’ve noticed that sometimes leads to this idea is using a “survival of the fittest” approach to percolating ideas.

Interesting parallel to this article perhaps.

I saw this in action. Parking under a tree with some sort of cherry every day, I saw the day the flock arrived. It was about 1 or 2 days before the fruit ripened. The flock's members proceeded to pluck each fruit from the tree, test it with their beak, and 9 times out of 10 drop it on the ground as too green. Stripped the tree in a minute.

If the flock had waited a day, of course, each bird would have had 10X the fruit. But any member of the flock that waited that day would have found a stripped tree. Hard to see how the genetics of the bird flock could ever escape this tragedy.

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