A 'like' is a way of sharing attention with a new work and its author. We consider how federated wiki's 'fork' improves on the 'like' mechanism.
A community of developers might collectively revolt from the leadership in a project. This was made possible by free software license and public hosting of repositories and termed a 'fork' as it represented a division of labor going forward as with a fork in the road.
GitHub made the fork a complement. First git made merging changes near effortless while GitHub tracked the forks and encouraged their assessment and eventual merger. A vocabulary of development workflow appeared including feature branches and pull requests.
Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby
To copy another's work implies mindless cheating but to fork a work hints at an alternative path forward to the benefit of all parties involved. wired
The attribution required by the license we choose makes wiki's version of fork share attention as with like. The similarity is worthy of note. However, one is simply casting a vote to be tallied while the other hints at some responsibility to improve on the work in question.
Social theorists distinguish between imitation and emulation. A distinction similar to that between copy and fork, perhaps?
Gray is the New Black
Of course we are playing with concepts that are at the same time very old and very new. The distinction within emulation comes from animal behavior studies that suggest the emergence of cultural evolution among primates while like and fork are of the internet where memes flourish. The new like indeed.
Economic strength clusters based in part on the physical distances that material and knowhow must be moved. Packet switching and container shipping changes this. Whatever their roots, clusters are now preserved by the rate that skills can be acquired and the investor's confidences that the acquisition has taken place.