Once again, David Bollier has pointed me to something cool. Awhile back I wrote about complementary currencies - here's on called BookMooch. I've been a member of PaperBackSwap for more than a year - BookMooch is similar in purpose - to help those of us who have more books than money trade what we've read for that which we covet (my words, not BookMooch's or PaperBackSwap's).
Here are Bollier's observations on the "rules" of BookMooch:
"As a student of the commons, I am fascinated by the some of the rules that BookMooch uses to keep the book exchange fair and functional. For example, you have to send out at least one book for every five you receive, so that you can?t just take from the commons without also giving. Also, if you don't fulfill requests promptly or don?t package them properly, you may get a bad feedback store, which will allow people to refuse your mooch requests. To prevent fraud, participants are allowed only so many ?lost in the mail? episodes."
These rules, like the rules that govern Wikipedia, are key to understanding the commons or any open, collaborative governance structure. I also learned a new name for these governance structures - learn more about panarchy.