The Real Paul Jones

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Digital Domain on Wikipedia

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

A while back I had a chat and exchanged some email with Randy Stross, author of the NYTimes Digital Domain column, about Wikipedia. I may have been amusing and even on target, but I didn’t make the article. Randy had a much better source in Jimmy Wales and that lead to a good article that saw ink today.
I disagree with Randy and his headline writer, who wrote Anonymous Source Is Not the Same as Open Source, and Jeff Bates, who is quoted as saying that “Every Open Source project has a benevolent dictator who takes responsibility” and that “everyone puts their name on it.” Well, yes the headline writer is right, but not quite. Open Source projects that I’ve been in and around hardly ever contend with questions of anonymity at all. I mean, it never comes up. It may or may not be the case that it is good or bad in Open Source to be anonymous. It’s just that like pigs flying it never happens.
Writing though has a different history, be it history, fiction, reporting, or even the “Federalist Papers.” Or encyclopedian. Or Wikipedia and its kin. Somehow the consequences in this kind of writing begs for the sometimes covert cover of anonymity or pseudo-anonymity. It has for ages and ages. I don’t expect that to change. Anonymous writer or sourced author doesn’t make the writing more true. Ask Jonathan Frey or Nadijj or Belle de Jour or Steven Glass or Jason Blair or …

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