‘Open space rewards consensus and punishes dissent’

Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, Jan 26, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting commentary about open spaces and dissent, following from some of Dave Snowden's comments in #Change11. As an aside - I don't get where this view that I have some kind of authority comes from. I have no authority. My academic credentials are from another field, and are inadequate anyways. I supervise zero people. I don't issue grades, pass or fail people, or impact their career prospects in any way. In theory I could maybe block some people from using one of my websites, but in practice I don't, and a determined person could probably get around any sanctions I would apply. The only authority whatsoever that I have comes from the weight of my words - and even then, I frequently remind people to disregard them, to weight their own opinions, and write their own words (preferably on their own website outside my scope and control). All this is in its own way a good thing. Because to the extent that I am in a position to punish dissent, I am weakened.
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