Identity and Provenance

Mike's fork of Frances' page illustrates a couple of issues I'm having with identity and provenance.

From Recent Changes I can see that created the page and forked it, adding commentary. Finding out that frances is Frances Bell requires a couple of clicks and disrupts my context. Likewise finding out that is Mike.

That Mike felt the need to sign the commentary he added to his fork of Frances' page illustrates the problem. It's a feature of FedWiki that neighborhood boundaries are vague and dynamic. But it's a bug, I'll argue, that identity can be vague. Everybody owns their stuff in this network, and that ownership needs to be obvious in all contexts.

Frances Bell I would just like to connect the prongs of our forks (so to speak) to link your thoughts to my recent post Observations on Culture Building at Fedwiki Happening

Apologies Jon Udell my comments crossed with your fork of my post - forking Hell!!

Mike Caulfield: Actually I hope to move past comments, as they are a temporary convenience. In a world where we all know how this works, the preference is just to make the change. Ultimately the idea is to stop caring who did what, at least most of the time. Occasionally after a page matures you might make a deep dive to find authorship, but authorship should be muted most of the time so that people don't feel bad about editing something someone "owns".

The problem is as we onboard people (and as you teach a class) you've gotta go meta, and encourage others to make changes. But part of the colored icons is to really reduce that feeling that someone owns something. We all actually own all the pages here, with the caveat that contribution should be Discoverable but not Obvious.

While we find this odd in the print world, in conversation it is not odd at all. Who owns an idea is not foregrounded in conversation, we don't verbally cite an idea like Digital Renovator or Idea Mining. But if someone asks where the idea came from, we offer up our version of its provenance.

Something similar happens in relation to architecture and urban design. The identity of an architect is typically discoverable but not to the extent that the building is literally signed, as a painting might be.

The issue with collaborative authorship in academic writing is one we already grapple with, where "we" typically means "me then him then her then me again." This tangles with the question of Paradoxical Uniqueness associated with writing as the ownership of words designed to sustain the production of authorial celebrity.