Nerd Play: Puzzle Hunting as Participatory Knowledge Creation

By Zachary McDowell.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In a world of ever-evolving networks, both social and digital, there is an overwhelming amount of information regarding networked space and the construction of knowledge within that space. In studying the utilization of technology in these collaborative environments what remains interesting is not necessarily the technology itself but the way that individuals and organizations utilize technology, and how the technology transforms the individuals and organizations. Until recently, hierarchical structures were necessary for organizations to communicate and to perform tasks and achieve goals with relative ease. Now, through the utilization of specific technologies, organizations cannot only decide on different organizational dynamics, but the entire organization itself can be dispersed rather than within close proximity as was the obvious case. Decentralization of power within a team, while not unheard of, was, as we all know, an uncommon occurrence until recent years. Pierre Lévy’s Collective Intelligence elucidates the goal of this type of team is not just to “win” at their game, but additionally it is the re-invention of team dynamic for better collaboration. This paper investigates Team Codex’s organization in competing at the MIT Mystery hunt to better understand Knowledge Communities and how a team in a decentralized environment has excelled at a game with ever-changing rules.

Keywords: Game Theory, Organization, Decentralization, Knowledge Community

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.17-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 606.820KB).

Zachary McDowell

Doctoral Student, Communication Studies, University of Massachusetts, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

A Doctoral Student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the Department of Communication, Zach McDowell earned a BS and MA at Arizona State University, focusing on Advocacy, Critical Theory, and Philosophy of Communication. His current focus is in the area of advocacy, communication, and collaboration in a digital environment, especially the issues surrounding the Open Source / Free Software Movement, Digital Rights Management, Peer to Peer Sharing, and (Intellectual) Property. A self-described nerd, he uses the term with fondness amongst rising concerns over its use as a debasement.