A Day in the Life of the Internet
There is a post today on Slashdot about an open source project going closed source. The claim, which may very well be true, is that too many people were taking the code and too few were giving back. Personally, I’m not sure how that’s a bad thing in the context of open source, but the developers are free to persue their own goals as they see fit.
That being said, not everything is amiss with the world of collective intellectual property creation. I give you Epic Legends Of The Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga. What is the Elemenstor Saga, you ask? It is the umbrella title of a 13 book, two movie, 17 video game, 4 cartoon series fantasy franchise. Contained within that webpage is the collection of the world’s memory about this amazing franchise, complete with Fan Art, a collectable card game, and a themesong.
What’s so special about all of this, you might be asking. It is 100%, completely and totally, fictitious. It all started with this innocent comic strip from Penny-Arcade. From that single inspirational spark of creativity, in the span of 19 days, the internet has filled in the entire backstory of this epic universe. No compensation, no glory, no reward… just a creative outlet and the opportunity to work with other creative folks. (Actually, I’m just discovering it now… but Wired found it just four days after inception and were reasonable impressed. )
It’s an important lesson for those of us who often look for incentives to drive the world. Incentives simply fail to explain the whole picture. There is something else going on here beyond what’s in it for me. My friend Tom, an amazing guy in his own right, has contributed. Why? Lord only knows… but he did. And if I had to guess, he’ll do so again. And so it will go until it stops. Why will it stop? Maybe for the same reasons Nessus stopped. But in the mean time the world is treated to the full force of the internet’s brilliance.
Drink deep friends, for the river will never run dry.