Posted by: commonsresource | May 3, 2010

Case still open for being closed?

Mathew Ingram’s Open vs. Closed: Jimmy Wales on Being Open post on gigaOM late last week is definitely worth a read.  His post, which is part of a gigaOM series on Open v. Closed, focuses on a conversation with Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the Wik1pedia “open source encyclopedia”.   I found their discussion of the open vs. closed  issue to be insightful and fair with a balanced exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of each paradigm.

As is often the case, many examples are really hybrid in nature and involve a combination of open and closed.  I really like Jimmy’s description of the importance of controls in the Wikipedia model:

My view is that good community management is like having good municipal government: You should be able to have dissenting opinions and so on, freedom of speech, but your grandmother should also be able to walk down the street at night without having to worry about getting mugged. It’s a balance that you have to strike, where if you leave it alone then the trolls take over, but if you’re too central and controlling, then you can crush it, and we try to strike that balance.

But my favourite part of the post is Jimmy’s response to gigaOM’s “imagining” of a Wikipedia run by Steve Jobs:  “It would be interesting — it would probably be prettier, too.”  On balance, the case may well still be open for being closed, at least a bit!


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