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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Open Source Mudslinging

Thursday, April 27, 2006

NPH has become fascinated with the idea of open-source ever since reading Douglas Rushkoff's "Get Back in The Box." I've gorged myself on Firefox extensions, and even downloaded and begun to use Open Office, an open source software bundle comprable to Microsoft Works.

So NPH is intrigued by this story. Because Wikipedia is the standard-bearer for much of what open source is about; it's an online encyclopedia whose entries are generated entirely by users and can be altered by anyone. And so the campaign manager for a Georgia gubernatorial candidate went and changed the Wikipedia entry about an opponent to include the fact of the candidate's son's DUI, an infraction that killed a person.

The campaign manager resigned after Wikipedia confirmed that the entry came from an IP address associated with the campaign. Open source information is almost impossible to massage into a slick PR package; and yet so much of what happens in an open source environ can be ethically sketchy, since regulation depends almost entirely on those who use and consume the information. I guess, in that sense, the regulation worked here.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:29 AM


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