Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Read/Write/Ruin Web

John Robb discusses open source insurgency, which was a theme of his book Brave New War , in terms that are very similar to the ones I used in my own book Tracing Genres through Organizations (Ch.6) several years ago. But whereas I, and others working in the read/write web space, focused on positive contributions in a developing ecology, Robb points to the possibilities for guerilla action.

The benefit of this passive approach is that it creates the potential to form an open source community around the topic. As such, it not only attracts people tightly aligned with the creator's goals, but also a much larger group of individuals and groups that are pursuing tangential and marginally aligned interests. Also, because the site is a tool, it benefits from a virtuous feedback loop that tends to accelerate growth: people that use the site often see immediate benefit from the interaction.

Software tools of this type can be used to create open source communities for both positive endeavors (like building resilient communities) to insurgency.

For example, say I wanted to run an insurgency against financial capitalism, and in particular an effort that specifically targets Goldman Sachs. The software tool approach offers a variety of entry points for this endeavor.

Read the whole thing.

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