Friday, March 16, 2012

"open source communities" changing the world

" These types of communities are truly poly-archies and the type of power that is held in them is meritocratic, distributed and ad hoc. Everyone can contribute without permission, but those with recognised expertise who are accepted by the community - the so-called "maintainers" and the 'editors' - decide which software or design patches are acceptable.
These decisions require expertise, not communal consensus. The tension between inclusive participation and selection for excellence is one that every social system faces, and that peer production has solved in a rather elegant way. The genius of the solution is not that it avoids conflict, but that it designs away unnecessary conflict by allowing for the maximum human freedom compatible with the goal of co-operation. Indeed, peer production is always an 'object-oriented' co-operation, and it is the particular object that will drive the particular form chosen for its peer governance mechanisms.
The main allocation mechanism in such projects is a 'distribution of tasks'. Unlike in the industrial model, there is no longer a division of labour between jobs and mutual coordination. Because the work environment is designed to be totally open and transparent, every participating individual can see what is needed, and decide accordingly whether to contribute. Remarkably, this new model allows for both global coordination and for small-group dynamics. And it does this without 'command and control'!"

   This is a good article explaining "open source communities" or what I call Internet Collective Action.  It shows how such a system can work in daily life and politics.  I look forward to seeing more of this.

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