Subject: Re: OpenSources "opensourced"
From: Rich Persaud <persaudl@autometa.com>
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 17:10:56 -0700


>Now, I'm really thrilled if people want to quote me verbatim.  That's
>the definition of a quote.  And I don't mind if people read what I
>wrote, form their own opinion, and call it theirs...that's what sharing
>information is all about.  But I don't want people twisted what I said
>into things I did not say, and then attributing them to me.
>
>Maybe I just see the problem from a too-simple point of view: ORA's
>making the ideas free.  If you want to modify them, _call them yours_.
>
>M

That's the point, right there.  It's not about 'mine' or 'yours'.  Ideas 
embed themselves in our environment, and that environment is constantly 
changing 'us'.  Look at the process that is triggered by a well-written 
article.  People interpret, discuss, retell and evolve the 
article.  Enormous value is lost by having this occur at the individual 
level, instead of creating a temporary community to evolve the ideas in the 
original article.

People misinterpret authors. Art is in the eye of the beholder.  Is the 
author better off having that misinterpretation occur in the distant 
silence, or worse, in a distant one-way communications medium (like a 
rebuttal article)?  What is the value of learning the reasons why people 
misinterpreted the material?  One could say that all interpretation is 
valid to the interpreter. Each interpretation then becomes an opportunity 
to better understand your reader, customer, partner.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Hitler can't paint a picture of the Third 
Reich and then say, "You guys figure it out. It's your idea now."  Nor can 
anyone claim zero responsibility for introducing a technical breakthrough, 
whether it be Linux or the atomic bomb.  There is at least an intellectual 
curiosity about the consequences of the original idea.  One wonders where 
their 'message in a bottle' ended up.

Since you have no control over what other people do with your ideas, the 
best you can do is try to understand why they do what they do.  That 
cumulative knowledge is what creates legendary consultants, counselors, 
teachers and yes, writers.  To understand your audience, create a space for 
them, invite them over, and get to know them.  Digital real estate is 
cheap.  Version control is structured conversation that enables digital 
archaeology.

Now that we have interactive communication, why limit ourselves to broadcast?

Rich