Use of Learning-org Msgs LO1235

Doug Seeley (
16 May 95 02:44:57 EDT

Responding to Richard Karash in LO1171, Martha White in LO1188 and to
Michael McMasters in LO1191.....

I agree with Martha's emphasis on trust and integrity, and with Richard
that there are no practical means of enforcing respectful use of LO forum
material. There is also an issue about intellectual property which I would
like to raise which was brought home to me in the late 70's while doing
computer conferencing with Community Memory (San Francisco & Vancouver)
and with EIES (from New Jersey Inst. of Tech).

Community Memory (CM) came from a kind of alternative computing fringe at
that time, with lots of hope in synergy and faith in the democratization
influence of networking, while EIES was populated much more by government
workers and academics. Using CM there was a spirit of freedom, synergy and
emergence (that anything could happen out of the conversations), while
EIES was heavily structured and many of its leading lights were reticent
about sharing, focused on their intellectual egos, and believed strongly
in possessing their utterances as property. While there certainly was
sharing on EIES, in contrast for me CM was like a breath of fresh air, and
I thrilled in the openness of it. In CM one could do interesting things
with a keywords line which suggested multi-way threads for organizing
conversations and keeping multiple references happening (with the advent
of simple searching, the attractiveness of this approach seems to have

Speaking to the trust and integrity issue raised by Martha White, I
believe that the conventional notion of intellectual property is bogus
when applied to the realm of ideas. Ideas and computer-mediated
information do not have the same physical characteristics as physical
commodities. The latter deals with implicit scarcity, while ideas are
implicitly abundant. This is because ideas and computer info when
transmitted to another, are not lost or destroyed. If I give You $200 for
a bicycle, we have an exchange in which there remains 1 bicycle and $200.
Whereas if You give me a good idea, and I give You a good idea, then there
are 2 people with 2 good ideas where before each had only one. Is this
difference between physical commodities and ideas not fundamental?? Does
it not suggest a different approach here with the sharing and synergy on
these networks, to that of conventional property and ownership??

In this network context especially, for me the notion that an idea
originates from an individual as a point source is abundantly lacking in
integrity. Although We often raise issues and thoughts from our previous
experiences outside of the network, a lot of what I experience is that
ideas flow out of my relationship to the others sharing on this network.
Hence, the feeding and care of those relationships is more important than
ego-attachments to possessing "my idea". As Barry Mallis has said.....

What I suggest is that We find a balanced way to acknowledge both the
individual participants and the network (as opposed to virtual, for it is
not a simulation) community participation of the LO forum, in order to
nurture the abundant emergence of ideas....

Perhaps something along the lines of what Michael McMasters was
suggesting, where there is blanket approval to use each others material
elsewhere, as long as it is respectfully acknowledged and is no longer
than some limit like 100 words or a single message. If it is more in one
work, than permission should be sought...

Any other viewpoints on the synergy/property balance??

Doug Seeley:  compuserve 100433,133... Fax: +41  22  756  3957
	InterDynamics Pty. Ltd. (Australia) in Geneva, Switzerland
	"Integrity is not merely an ideal; it is the only reality."