Image Credit: Pat Lockley

And we’re changing our ways, Taking different roads #oer18 guest post by Pat Lockley (Pgogy Webstuff)

It’s always strange to watch a conference from afar, using twitter as some form of dipstick diplomatic thermometer. Sadly no one has yet been mentioned in dispatches, for which, I blame, correctly, the Times of London.

So I’ll write about one of the hares set running from David Wiley’s keynote. The notion of “purist” and “pragmatist”, the question of a split, or perhaps a wheel reinvented – rebranded again. Sometimes we nail jelly, sometimes we nail theses. Can we see schisms, or perhaps to borrow from Lorna Campbell’s keynote that we all got here from different routes, but perhaps we are here until the trajectory of those routes takes us off in different directions. I’m not denying there is a schism, we’re just seeing other people.

In a sense, our definitions of open have become pragmatic (while many still being pure). If the definition doesn’t work for us, we’d not be here. How would we measure the success of a definition? As per Wiley, Linux is seen as a success, but the keynote doesn’t mention how each linux commit is checked by Linus Torvalds himself. This is an open with many gatekeepers and benevolent dictators for life. Pragmatically, this is a success, but a price worth paying? Similarly once Raymond’s politics “came to light”, many felt uncomfortable. Perhaps this draws on the we in “how we got here”. Is the we of OER18 an academic we? When we look at our open timelines they tend to focus on Universities as open (whilst speaking for education). Digging through schools, we can find traces of an openness dating back to the 1950s and “The Leicestershire Method”, which which morphs into an open education movement but not, perhaps, this open education movement. Is this why Wiley says “open content movement”? How would this tie into Rolfe’s work.

Do we have an issue of nominative determinism and thus nominatively determined friends? Are we willing to set up walls between us? Perhaps we want some OSmotic filter which allows through open source concepts but not politics. We expect to learn from open source, but how many of us contribute back to open source? So much of openness has been built on WordPress, but has anyone added code back, or contributed? You don’t get far in Openness without seeing CC-BY, but do we name, or thank, theme or plugin authors? How different are these open cultures and their norms? The English and Welsh Common Law has given copyright the “sweat of the brow” and do we recognise each other’s labour?

At Pgogy Webstuff we’re aiming to follow Scott Leslie’s inspiration and give back to those who’ve worked for us. Perhaps this is a better form of attribution than merely naming people as creator. Perhaps it isn’t in itself enough, perhaps donations to groups underrepresented makes more sense than projects with large endowments. How much payment is “good”? A fixed fee, a percentage? Does donating to WordPress cover PHP and jQuery? Be great to hear more views on this. Thanks for reading.