By Stephen Downes
July 11, 2003

The Ethics of De-Publishing
I've been following this for the last few days - Dave Winer discovered that Mark Pilgrim has been harvesting his feed every few minutes. Pilgrim, as it turns out, has been tracking changes Winer makes to his weblog. For good reason - my Edu_RSS aggregator has picked up some really scathing remarks posted by Winer (who is defending his particular vision of RSS), then removed (after which he denies that he has said anything bad). Winer complained about the bandwidth, Pilgrim posted a guide to reducing bandwidth in RSS feeds. Winer started talking about copyright restrictions in RSS feeds (and some of his friends at Harvard Law started raising legal questions, which drew a scathing remark from me - if you don't want people to use your content, don't syndicate it). If it weren't for the people involved, it would all be very petty. The interesting question in all of this is: what are the ethics of de-publishing or editing weblogs? Me, I stand by whatever I've posted, no matter how stupid it seems a few minutes later. I may write a correction afterward, but I'll take my lumps if I deserve them. Should I ever be forced for legal reasons to remove something, a big black box will appear in its place. That's my policy, and I'm sticking to it. By Greg Ritter, Ten Reasons Why, July 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Brasilien: CD-Käufer gewinnt Klage wegen störendem Kopierschutz
A Brazilian man sued EMI and won damages after a CD he purchased would not play in his car CD player. The article is in German (as the title suggests). The DRM Watch summary (in English) observes that "Although the major record companies tend to believe that most consumers will passively accept copy-protected CDs, this is an example of the kind of backlash that they can expect when they begin to distribute them in quantity in the U.S. market." Yup. By Unknown, Heise Online, July 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

What's The Fuss About RSS
Some great stuff happening in preparation for Alan Levine, Brian Lamb and D'arcy Norman's talk about RSS and learning objects at the MERLOT conferent in August. The three of them are using blogs, wikis and RSS to plan and prepare their presentation ahead of the conference; the summary so far is outstanding, easily the best compilation of resources on the subject so far, and getting better with community-wide feedback. They held a teleconference this afternoon - no audio, unfortunately, but George Siemens has already posted a summary. The discussion continues. What's interesting is that this is happening at MERLOT - now the eduSource project is a MERLOT member, and I am told over and over in meetings that MERLOT won't share its metadata. This makes it a pariah in my books, of course - but the question is: can this presentation convince MERLOT to play nice with others? By Alan Levine, Brian Lamb and D'arcy Norman, CogDogBlog, July 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?
A fascinating article charging - and making stick - the journal referee system of preserving orthodoxy and mediocrity at the expense of innovation. The first part of this paper is a must-read. Sadly, the rest falls flat. The author, after making such a convincing case by showing that Nobel laureates have had trouble getting their work published, asserts that the major victims of such orthodoxy is faith-based physics. I honestly don't think that's the problem here - showing that "2+2=4" is one thing, showing that "2+2=4 because only God could have made it so, and hence, God exists", doesn't really advance our knowledge. Not that I want to bar such research from being published; quite the contrary, I think wider publication and discussion of such reasoning would be useful. But the third part of the paper produces no joy either. The author suggests, first, that a cadre of eminent scientists replace the less than able reviewers, which creates a friend-of-a-friend network, and that scientific funding be managed by state governments, which puts politicians in control. But if there's any group of people I trust less than professors and researchers (and there are, in fact, many), it's politicians. The obvious answer, of course - and this is touched on by the author - is to let *everybody* publish (on the net of course), let authors be evaluated by readers, and let tenure (and grants) be determined by demonstrated importance of the work. By Frank J. Tipler, International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, June, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.