Of course, forces can never be fully balanced and thus static. At their nexus, the force vectors are always pushing, pulling, slipping, and shearing against each other, renegotiating that balance. A very stable system limits the chaos at the nexus to unnoticeable amounts, but it continues, and one day all that energy will wear the seam down, destroy the structures, and the system will break apart. That's entropy for you.
The design paradigm of a highly PrescriptiveCulture? is to construct everything from first principles, one on top of another. This requires precise definitions, becoming more and more precise as time wears on to build finer and more intricately optimized solutions. This can become very expensive, and insomuch as you can only build upon what you have built before, you are limited by the shear inertia of ideas that have already been presented. But, if you focus on BalancingForces rather than building something explicit, then you can let the underlying chaos of the universe do all the heavy lifting. If the forces are always pushing and pulling at each other, all that energy can be used for you if you channel it properly. You can and should build layers one on top of another, though, but concentrate more on building one StableBase on top of another, rather than a single ladder all the way to the top.
Another way to look at this is "fine-grained feedback" — reacting to real information as it happens, rather than predicting and prescribing long in advance. If you have a whole population of individuals doing this, the cost is distributed across the entire network, rather than being concentrated in one bet. At the same time, TheIndividual can be betting on a wide variety of options at the same time, distributing their risk as well. Thus, as a whole, TheCollective (the population) can tackle many problems more efficiently given a StableBase constructed out of balanced forces. Motivations for solving collective problems need also be balanced; either problems can be solved out of intrinsic motivation (e.g. the need to eat), or by an extrinsic EconomicSolutions.
Conversely, often people balance forces by centralizing a huge amount of counter-force in one place; i.e. forming a ConcentrationOfPower. One must limit "absolute and infinite power" (e.g. GodKing). Rather, DevolvePower more quickly by BalancingForces in the wider population. If you fail to do this, you need some system of checks (vs. balances) to maintain control over this force. Some kind of "fuse" or "SurgeProtector" is often needed, in case the flow of injustice is too great. Otherwise we're [Wiring the World Without Fuses] — Like putting a "Pennywise" in "Fuse Foolish" box.
Wikipedia isn't a scratch; it is the encyclopedia. I would be very hesitant to claim Wikipedia is free, loose, rough, or anything like that. I am also now rather involved now in their political system, for good or bad, and it is somewhat troubling the degree of control they try to impose over their process whilst remaining open to the winds. It's hypnotic in a way to believe one can exercise that degree of control over something intrinsically Wiki:WabiSabi, but that's why a bureaucracy has grown there while we seek to resist one on WikiWiki and on MeatballWiki we actively seek to break the bureaucracy that inevitably forms in our pedantry. And for contrast, on LambdaMOO, they were forced into one as they only had one philosophical tradition to work with, no matter how diverse that tradition was.
The real truth is that there is no control on a wiki, only a balance of forces. One can just slide the fulcrum, or change the weights, or set the other side off the teeter totter, or even blow some wind with strong enough lungs, but it is just forces and counter-forces.
The scratchiness seems to me as not only inevitable, but necessary, because that is where the edges of life is. Trying to force all of it out leads to incredible conflict. -- SunirShah