The first Open Knowledge Festival (#OKfest) took place in Helsinki, Finland, September 17-22, 2012. The festival, arranged by the UK based Open Knowledge Foundation was dedicated to the growing culture of openness extended through digital technology. Following that spirit it covered 13 different “topic streams” coordinated by multiple program planners and attracting talks, panels, workshops … Continue reading RE: Open Knowledge Festival—Between Open Data and Public Knowledge
Rather than doing unpaid corporate cartography, join us in mapping the world together as a publicly shared resource. In April 19th 2011 Google announced its new Google Mapmaker expedition to send its users to map the US. This would seem like a great innovative platform for mapping our streets together for those who don’t know … Continue reading Reclaim the Street Map!
As a part of our (Galia Offri & mine) involvement in this year’s Transmediale Festival in Berlin we participated in a panel discussion titled “Lost in The Open”. The focus of the discussion which I moderated was to hash out some of the challenges for Free Culture beyond its epic battles against centralized institutions, record … Continue reading Lost in the Open
Anil Dash just published an interesting post looking at the social implications of the code fork, and how it has changed from a huge contested point to a feature of the collaborated process:
“While Linus Torvalds is best known as the creator of Linux, it’s one of his more geeky creations, and the social implications of its design, that may well end up being his greatest legacy. Because Linus has, in just a few short years, changed the social dynamic around forking, turning the idea of multiple versions of a work from a cultural weakness into a cultural strength. Perhaps the technologies that let us easily collaborate together online have finally matured enough to let our work reflect the reality that some problems are better solved with lots of different efforts instead of one committee-built compromise.”
This is something we touched upon in the Collaborative Futures book, both in the Multiplicity and Social Coding and the Forks vs. Knives chapters. Anil goes on to suggest a distributed collaborative model that encourages forking might reinvigorate Wikipedia, which follows the more traditional centralized collaborative model:
“Most importantly, the new culture of ubiquitous forking can have profound impacts on lots of other categories of software. There have been recent rumblings that participation in Wikipedia editing has plateaued, or even begun to decline. Aside from the (frankly, absurd) idea that “everything’s already been documented!” one of the best ways for Wikipedia to reinvigorate itself, and to break away from the stultifying and arcane editing discussions that are its worst feature, could be to embrace the idea that there’s not One True Version of every Wikipedia article.”
Extending the distributed model beyond code and leveraging forking in other collaborative processes have interested me for quite some time. In commenting on Anil’s post, I realized something about the inherent difference between Wikipedia and software. Instead of rewriting it, I’ll just quote my comment in its entirety:
I’m happy that both the merging and the network view issues were addressed on the previous comments. I have been interested in extending the git&github models beyond software myself. I understand the interest in considering Wikipedia as the next logical step for networked collaboration right after code, but I think there is a fundamental difference between the two. While software code contains a set of rules that would operate a system, Wikipedia’s model is almost opposite – it documents a system that is already happening or has happened. Wikipedia attempts to document a monolithic past while software attempts to imagine the multiplicity of the future(s). Read the rest of this comment→
I’ve been teaching a class on the subject for 3 years, I’ve been giving talks on the subject for almost a year. Finally I set down and wrote the essay for the second edition of the Collaborative Futures book. On Sunday (Aug 1st 2010) I gave a talk based on this essay at DebConf the … Continue reading Can Design By Committee Work? [@SmashingMag & C-F]
The Internets is all buzzing with chatter against Facebook’s latest privacy breaches. Into this happy mix a bunch of NYU students have been cast as the Davids against the social networking Goliath. Is that really a good thing? Can we help? Diaspora is a new initiative by 4 NYU students to create a “privacy aware, … Continue reading Diaspora’s Kickstarter $$$,$$$ success endangers both Diaspora, Kickstarter & you
We have just uploaded the video documentation for one of the most interesting Upgrade events we had in the past year with Biella Coleman and Zach Lieberman discussing the tensions within the Free Software / Open Source world(s?) on the meaning of “free”. It explores the tensions between ethics and pragmatics, between “to free” and … Continue reading Upgrade New York: “Free As In What?” video
During the upcoming week I will be working in Berlin with 6 super smart people (Adam Hyde, Mike Linksvayer, Michael Mandiberg, Alan Toner, Aleksandar Erkalovic, Marta Peirano) on writing a whole book from scratch titled “Collaborative Futures”. The format for this collaborative writing was developed by Adam Hyde and the Floss Manuals community which is … Continue reading Towards the (week of) Collaborative Futures
In the second day of Wordcamp NYC last month I was asked to repeat my Open Source Design presentation in a 5 minutes version for the whole of the conference audience. I just realized somebody uploaded a video of it to YouTube, but since it’s a bit shaky and the image quality could be better … Continue reading short+audio – my Open Source Design slides
Google is impatient with our culture-upload speed, and starts taking the job to its own hands. Before we get to excited or too paranoid, let’s see what we stand to gain or loose. Who’s exploiting who? Or is it a mutual opportunity?
Last week Google have announced a somewhat surprising initiative, to digitize the artefacts and documents of the Iraqi National Museum. The first ring of this is great! A private American company helping with the reconstruction of the ravaged Iraqi cultural heritage and making it available to the public online. And all for free.
I do acknowledge that there’s a high level of paranoia whenever Google announces anything. And while I definitely share some of the suspicions, I do not wish to align this post with the side of the conspiracy theorists. Yet I believe it is not hard to suspect that there is more than pure altruism in play here. Google has been expressing frequent PR attempts lately to fight against the inevitable (just a matter of time) anti-trust lawsuit by aligning itself on the side of the public interest.
Still licking the wounds of its somewhat failed book deal (digitizing the world’s books for free), Google is still trying to make an attempt to dive into publishing (rather than indexing) public content on the web. It seems like Google is impatient with the world’s pace of uploading its knowledge online, every failed Google search is a net loss for Google and almost every new service it has announced lately is geared towards increasing this process.