One of my working hypotheses has been that commons discourse has great power because it is able to function as an open platform. It is both general and specific. I frequently compare the commons to DNA because both are under-specified design structures that evolve and adapt in relationship to local circumstances. A certain ambiguity and incompleteness in the language of the commons is precisely what enables people to infuse it with their own specific values, needs and aspirations. And this is what makes the commons both universally appealing and particular in its manifestations.
The Buffalo Commons: The Social Life of a Metaphor
by David Bollier — news and perspectives on the commons
While Bollier's post on the buffalo commons is interesting, the only paragraph that I think is a must-read is the first, quoted above, especially in relation to what Roger Erickson has been saying.