Adam Curry Caught in Sticky Wiki

Rogers Candenhead, Workbench, Dec 02, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

When I developed Ed Radio a couple of years ago, I was pretty pleased with it. What it did was to use Edu_RSS to scrape RSS feeds for MP3 audio links, then combine them into a single feed, so that when you clicked on the link the audio would start playing in your player. It was an obvious and important step in the development of podcasting, and that's why there is a reference to it in the Wikipedia entry about podcasting. I don't know whether it directly influenced Dave Winer and Adam Curry (I've long suspected Winer of reading this website, but he never cites my work in his blog), but it makes it clear that what became podcasting in the fall of 2004 was the result of many voices. Anyhow, it has come to light that Adam Curry has been revising the Wikipedia entry to, as this article says, "remove credit from other people and inflate his role in its creation." I am one of the people he removed. And so I find myself part of a minor web controversy. But look: people always believe they deserve credit, and sometimes they (and I include myself in this) believe they deserve more credit than is due. It is a tricky balance between establishing genuine credit and going overboard. Today, for example, I am asking what the role of mIDm is in the history of distributed authentication. It would be pretty easy to edit the wiki and write myself in; after all, mIDm pre-dates (by five days) OpenID. But would it be appropriate? Nobody wants their contributions to be lost. So I bear no ill-will toward Curry, and use this episode to caution people that the history of RSS and Web 2.0 and the rest is being written, not by the few stars trumpeted in the media, but by a cast of thousands. I am but one member of that cast, and so is Curry. And what we are building, together, along with everyone else building the internet, is the most amazing creation in human history - and that, in the end, is what matters.
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