Occasionally I come across blog posts that I wish I’d written myself, because they capture so well some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about. Such the is the case with Ricky Rood’s series on open climate models, over at Weather Underground (which itself is an excellent resource – particularly Jeff Master’s Wunderblog):
- Greening of the Desert: Open Climate Models
- Stickiness and Climate Models
- Open Source Communities, What are the problems?
I’ve nothing really to add, other than to note that the points Ricky makes in the third post, on the need for governance, are crucial. Wikipedia is a huge success, but not because the technology is right (quite frankly, wikis rather suck from a usability point of view), nor because people are inherently good at massive collaborative projects. Wikipedia is a success because they got the social processes right that govern editing and quality control. Open source communities do the same. They’re not really as open as most people think – an inner core of people impose tight control over the vision for the project and the quality control of the code. And they sometimes struggle to keep the clueless newbies out, to stop them messing things up.