Subject: Re: Tying threads together.
Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012 19:32:00 UTC (over 5 years ago)
On Wed, 2012-02-15 at 12:21 -0600, inode0 wrote: > "I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read" > http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html > Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex > http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html John, I'm not sure in which way you meant for these to be interpreted, but there is a lot of good brain food here; thank you for suggesting it. I saw two possible ways to interpret these: Interpretation #1) "In order to accomplish something, you can't start from scratch every time. Whether it's a functional communication system or the presence of vendors who can sell you er, graphite, you can't provide everything you need to make the thing you're aiming for from scratch. There's infrastructure and materials and community needed that you can't all do yourself." To this reading, I say, yes! I believe we put far too much burden on folks trying to get things done, where they must start from ground zero and build a ton of things on their own rather than focus on the thing it is they really want to work on, because those support structures / infrastructure are just not working at the level we need them to if they exist at all. Sadly I think that because no one person can do everything on their own, and there's this expectation that they should somehow figure out how to make it happen, to have the vision, leadership, organization, coding & design & writing skills when they can't possibly have all of that. Note how the open source community as a whole has this emphasis on 'rock stars.' Well, yes, the people who get things done are 'rock stars' because you have to be to get anything done! This is not a *good* thing!! We have to do a better job at enabling the collective mind that Ridley refers to, or we'll be limited by the ability / skills of our own personal islands. Interpretation #2) "We should let people work on whatever they want to work on, and somehow magically something wonderful like a pencil will come out of it." (I *really* don't like this one so I'll hold the commentary on it.) > One large thing though is the idea in both that stuff happens, and > really great stuff, without central planning of some sort. A base of > freedom suitable to the context is enough. Points for a Board that > doesn't try to direct all the traffic. But there is a related point I > take away that I think will resonate here with Máirín and others. That > is that we can help make great stuff happen, not by figuring it all > out and telling people what to do but by creating the culture or a > framework that fosters and promotes the sorts of freedom and ease of > doing that enables others to achieve what *they* want to achieve. But what do you do when person A wants to achieve something that is diametrically opposed to what person B wants to achieve? I mean, the project does need an identity with which to attract like-minded folks so we can be productive. An extreme example to illustrate this: Canucks fans showing up to the Boston Bruins victory parade. That's not great stuff happening; that's likely a riot. (Sorry Vancouver fans.) People do have 'tribes.' That's human nature, I think. If we have no identity or position or defining vision driving the project, then how is a potential contributor to know this is a place that resonates with them? If anything goes, if you can do whatever you want as long as you can get the boots on the ground, then we really don't have functional vision at all, only a dream on paper. If we keep the entire thing completely undefined and feed to anyone who expresses a desire to help the notion that they can do anything that they want if they make it happen - we will get lots of factions and disagreements, wasting a lot of time and effort on conflict rather than churning out awesome things that make a real positive difference in the world. If I could only, only get back those hours and days of my life wasted in GNOME vs KDE bickering, or VIM vs EMACS bickering, or GNU/Linux vs Linux, or Free Software vs Open Source, or