I recall my father’s bemused comment on dirty money: “We can clean it!”
I have a friend who won’t use a very useful piece of open source software because he feels it’s author is a pompous jerk with a short fuse. You can clean money, it is much harder to clean your reputation. Relationships relationships, complex transactions, can not be reduced to simple market commerce.
Today’s debacle around WordPress (they were running a link farm on the reputation credit created by all the WordPress blogs “thank you links”), bleck. I use WordPress here and in a few other venues. I’ve made some very minor contributions. So yea! I’m in that core of the community, if you define that as the top 5 thousand people in the community :-). Today’s mess ripples thru the entire complex relationship network that holds a community like this together, and it is more likely to shake off people at the periphery than those closer to the core.
For example one of the things that the WordPress community does is Pingomatic.com. One of the hubs in the ping market. Trust?
Ugo does a good job of covering many of the bases of my opinion about this. He ends with this…
Since Matt is almost exactly half my age, I don’t want to be too harsh. Who’s not done something terribly stupid in his youth? I’m sure he’ll regret this and reform his ways. Unfortunately for him, the web, and Google in particular, have very good memory, so this episode won’t be forgotten so easily.
Open source projects are very long games with many many rounds and very ambiguous end states. If a player doesn’t play nice it taints his reputation for a long time. In the end sooner or later every participant in these games makes a fool of him self. In all robust collaborative games forgiveness is an extremely necessary and critical move.
< <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/" title="Thanks! WordPress">WordPress</a>, --- > <li><a rel="nofollow" href="http://wordpress.org/" title="Thanks! WordPress">WordPress</a>,