Sketching a Process for Sharing / Getting Feedback on Certification Drafts

Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Jul 13, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I am not even remotely convinced that creating a 'Creative Commons Certification' is a good idea either as a means of education or promotion, but it's not my call and of course the organization can do what it wants. Of more interest to me here is the process of getting people worldwide to collaborate on the creation of the certification draft (which is, as nearly as I can judge, the content of the certification curriculum - "a structure of 'modules' each of which has a series of Performance Objectives"). The document itself can be edited by the team, but what about input? Commenting could get messy after more than a small number of participants. Feedback forms? What about GitHub? "Just saying GitHub, much less showing anyone the interface, is enough to send most people running back to their parchments." But here's what it looks like. I tried out the system, and yes it works, but my comment (collected by GitHub as an issue) basically disappears.

I've actually thought about this problem quite a bit. Not with respect to this particular document, but with sharing and feedback mechanisms generally. It will come as no surprise to readers that I think a centralized system (eg., with primary author(s) and comments) is inherently flawed, because you can't make sense of more than a few hundred comments. Additionally, the centralized 'consensus document' model (like, say, a Wikipedia page) is also flawed, because there will not be consensus on anything once you have more than a few contributors. The only thing that is viable in the long term, in my mind, would be a system in which each person gets their own version. The final version is then created by a (semantically neutral) algorithm from the hundred (or million) individual versions. Levine's article was also posted at Get CC Certified (see it there).

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