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Re: Electronic Cancers
- To: <marcs@xanadu>, <us@xanadu>
- Subject: Re: Electronic Cancers
- From: Phil Salin -- "Ducks R Us" <phil@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 27 Nov 89 21:28:06 PST
Thanks. Good stuff. Rev1 of the Amix corporate product sidesteps this
issue because Rev1 doesn't attempt to support collaborative writing to any
significant degree--we're waiting for Xanadu there.
My 2 cents worth: the core issue isn't collaboration & electronics, but
focussed responsibility vs communal responsibility. In the latter case,
a document suffers from the "tragedy of the commons". Gordon Tulloch used
to talk about the problem of "comment pollution" at academic meetings. It
sounds like the retirement document suffered from something similar--everyone
has a good idea or two to add, but nobody wants to tell someone else that
their idea wasn't good enough/relevant enough/worth the added time/cost...
So everybody has something to add, and nobody adequately internalizes the
costs of always adding and rarely subtracting--unless clear roles and
responsibilities are easily defined. (One of the prime evolutionary functions
of property/responsibility is to focus accountability for trade-offs and hard
choices.) Luckily, there is no inherent opposition between collaboration and
focussed responsibility. As long as it's easy to collaborate with others
without automatically making all the collaborators assume the same roles
Things should work out OK, if not better (I'm assuming some of the added
length is due to more and better information on the subject resulting from
more effective collection of insights and critiques from more individuals).
In short, I'm not worried.
P.S. I assume you'll be collecting all 700KB of mail replies received on this
subject, and compiling them into a L..O..N..G mail message which you'll send
to us, for our additional comments, etc, etc...