Open Author

In the spirit of OpenSource, OpenAuthor is a WikiBadge used to connote egoless authorship to signed sections of WikiPages. By tagging your comments as an OpenAuthor, you are giving explicit permission for others to improve what you have written; however, you should realize that there is no way to forbid others from changing what you have authored on a Wiki. Besides, it runs counter to WikiNature. WardCunningham's comments at ThreadModeConsideredHarmful are worth repeating here: "There are many places on the net better than [Wiki] to hold a conversation. And there are many better ways to publish a web page too. Wiki is different."

The convention is to append " -- OpenAuthor, your_signature" to your comments.

If you run across this WikiBadge while you are editing a page,

This WikiBadge was inspired by the ThreadModeCorrected WikiPage.


Upon re-re-reading this it is my opinion that it doesn't add any meaning to a signature over and above the agreement we all enter into by contributing to Wiki. I think that we're all meant to be OpenAuthor's all the time here. -- PhilGoodwin

I agree Phil. But maybe we should encourage everyone that has signed even one contribution on Wiki to put OpenAuthor at the foot of their HomePage, as an explicit statement of encouragement to refactorers/rewriters to be bold with ThreadMode of all kinds. -- RichardDrake

I think it will have the opposite effect - people will be afraid to change any signed contribution that doesn't have it. In the worst case we'll have pages littered with these at the end of every signature. Even putting these on one's home page (admittedly a great improvement) seems more likely to lead to confusion than enlightenment. -- PhilGoodwin

You can't 'cheat' on Wiki. OpenAuthor is part of the rules. Everything else is politeness on our part. If I see something that needs doing/writing/correcting/etc I just do it. If someone complains, I undo it. -- ShaeErisson

Please note: it is better to remove a signature once you've changed the text if you think you're going to significantly change the meaning. Otherwise, you will attribute words to the author that she never said. Instead, either rip her name off the quote or delete the contribution altogether. The latter is preferable to misattributing a statement. There is no problem deleting what someone says; just don't misquote the person. Also, you can edit any passage someone writes whilst leaving their signature in tact as long as you don't change the meaning of what was said (significantly). These are Journalistic Principles that have much to do with libel, slander, lying, ethics and copyright laws. Remember, an OpenAuthor is egoless. Just remove the signature and it's fair game. The author won't mind.

You may want to consider writing a "Contributors:" line instead. That isn't as dangerous. Just make sure that you put AnonymousDonor(s) or something along that line if other contributors have been written into the mix to indicate other people may be responsible for the text.

[moved from AvoidSignatures]

I begin to see a tension between the principles at work that I didn't see before: people are allowed to freely edit Wiki pages, but copyrighted works must be properly attributed. Once you sign a work on Wiki it becomes copyrighted and that does place some limits on what people can do with it (like use it, unattributed, as part of another work). I originally thought that OpenAuthor was a harmful concept because it led people to believe that there were limitations to their ability to edit that simply weren't there. Now I see that there are some limitations, but I still don't see any that I object to. Are there limitations that I haven't thought of? Am I wrong about any of the uses that I listed?

I would like to amend or remove OpenAuthor so that it specifically addresses only those rights that we do not already have and would like to have. If there are no such rights we should replace the OpenAuthor page with one that specifically outlines the rights that we have and the lack of need for more. If there are such rights then OpenAuthor should be amended to explain the extent of existing rights and enumerate the new rights that it is meant to grant so that OpenAuthors know what they are signing up for. -- PhilGoodwin

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