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Re: <nettime> A Puff Piece on Wikipedia (Fwd)
Francis Hwang on Fri, 3 Oct 2003 23:02:05 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> A Puff Piece on Wikipedia (Fwd)

Well, there's always a tension. Over on the first wiki, c2 
(http://c2.com/cgi/wiki), there's no shortage of debate over anonymity 
vs. attribution. Anonymous contributions can sometimes make people feel 
it's okay to be contentious & impolite. Attributed contributions can 
make the maintainers (wiki gnomes, in c2 parlance) feel reluctant to 
fold individual threads into more coherent documents.

c2 isn't like all wikis; in particular, it places an extremely high 
priority on finding consensus as opposed to staking out individual 
opinion, and as such consideration for differing points of view and a 
willingness to learn from the experience of others is as valued as raw 
intelligence. (People smarts as opposed to book smarts.) I think this 
sort of give-and-take was easier in the early days, when many of the 
contributors were running their own software consultancies and/or 
published authors; they were already getting plenty of recognition 
off-wiki, through CS papers, books, etc, so they didn't need to push it 
at c2. Over the years, of course, this has changed as wikis in general 
have gained in popularity, many established names have left c2 -- even 
c2's founder Ward Cunningham isn't that active there much -- and the 
new bunch of contributors have nothing to their names except a bunch of 
signed wiki contributions.

What I think works best these days on c2 is for people to sign their 
contributions but then expressly note (usually on your wiki homepage) 
that it's okay for maintainers to change your writing as they see fit. 
You sign at first just to keep all the voices straight (who said 
what?), and to keep everything on a civil, personal level. But as time 
goes on the identity of the writer becomes less important than the 
content of the writing itself. If you like, you can see it as a 
metaphor for the history of ideas in general.


On Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 03:51  PM, Keith Hart wrote:

> I have been intrigued by this thread for the light it throws on the
> question of authorial anonymity. I have been reading a book by 
> Christopher
> Kelly, Rousseau as Author: consecrating one's life to the truth 
> (Chicago

Francis Hwang

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