Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The Paradox of Open

Sept 22, 2021

This post (also here) points to the changing understanding of 'open' over the years "away from a justification based on the voluntary exercise of rights by individual creators and towards a justification based on the production of social goods." This change coincides with the emergence of large platforms "where sharing is encouraged, but everything is meant to take place only within the space of a given service." And "In these ecosystems, free licensing – the principal tool of the Open movement – is largely useless."

What's important here is that "under the conditions created by an information ecosystem dominated by a small number of platforms, open resources are most likely to contribute to the power of those with the best means to make use of them.... Open, on its own, provides little in terms of protection from potential abuses of such power." So there's a need, argue the authors, for a new understanding of open "as a strategic concept that contributes to building a more just and egalitarian digital society."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023 12:27 p.m.

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