Open, But How Much? Growth,Conflict, and Institutional Evolution in Open‐Source Communities
If ‘open source’ is taken as a practice employed in organizing human knowledge-related activities, it may be applied more broadly than just with software. Wherever it is used this chapter contends that processes of negotiation and governance will emerge as means to deal with conflicting interests and visions of community purpose (or epistemic identity). A variety of possible institutional designs for these negotiation and governance processes are possible and each will be tested by the problems of sustaining participation, the growth of the community to include more diverse participants and contests over the paths of development of collective effort. These designs and their subsequent tests are examined empirically for the Debian open source software distribution and Wikipedia open source encyclopaedia creation communities. Conclusions regarding the significance of the initial choice of rules, the processes available to alter these rules, and the potential for dissipation or disruption of efforts are reached, and a proposal to conceive of open source activities as having important parallels to the management of museums rather than bazaars is advanced.
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