Tom Evslin writes:
I think the urge to cooperate and contribute to the community is baked into our genes. Seeing other people acting cooperatively sets off a rush of hormones that makes us want to cooperate as well and vice versa. In the old days cooperation was local because local was the only sphere in which most of us could contribute or cooperate. Remember Think Global, Act Local bumper stickers?
But on the Internet everything is local. Anyone who can afford Internet access and has free time can provide volunteer tech support to anyone else worldwide languages permitting. Anyone can contribute to wikipedia or wiktionary or add open source software to a collection. Pretty much anyone can (and does) blog.
..We volunteer and act cooperatively on the Internet for no more profound reason than that we can. Were programmed to want to help and, given the opportunity, thats just what we do. A lot of Web 2.0 is about giving us that opportunity. There is a profit opportunity in enabling people to do what they want to do.