Monday, 9 June 2008

xkcd's "Duty Calls" and why repositories are broken

Funny as hell, and you know why? Because it hits so close to home; we've all been tempted to feed a troll in our time, just to make sure that the world knew that they were f*cking wrong. F*ckers.

"Oh, no, I'm not like that" - wrong, you just haven't been pissed off enough yet to stay up until 2am to make sure that fecking 12 year old gets the virtual crap flamed out of him for being so goddamn dumb.

The sour truth of it is that this type of obsession built all the things online that we love. Wikipedia kicks ass and why? Wikipedia is built round the idea of people editing resources, and it's so simple to get stuck into - you open a thing, you edit a thing, job done.

Then it's the turn of the swarms of annoying, pedantic b*stards, who pick apart any entry for copyright, grammar and style - it's win-win, the content gets cleaned up, copyright issues get spotted and the pedants get their sexual thrill.

You want to preserve it? Just lock it. Again, job done.

And why can Wikipedia do this? Because it never makes the totally stupid claim that it is 100% correct all the time.

We - as a repo community - have got to start living in the real world when it comes down to copyright and fidelity. Institutional repositories need to start taking seriously the wealth of pedantic b*stards out there, and for f*ck's sake, make use of them. Add anonymous logged commenting, add problem flagging straight on the interface itself. Have people see that there is a problem with an item, rather than trying to hide it all away.

And we need to start turning down stuff for copyright reasons - "Sorry, your work doesn't count in the eyes of the University, because you signed your soul away to the devil and your copyright to Elsivier. Come back when you've got some work of your own to submit."

And you wanna know how to really get the party started? Keep a top score of real issues spotted per pedant and update it daily online, for all the world to see. Make up pointless heirarchies, based on levels of submissions. Just see how World of Warcrack-cocaine manages to make mundane tasks seem appealing.

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