Slarrow

"Slarrow" refers to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Hamlet's soliloquy. Here are the chronicles of such darts and whatever attempt there may be to take arms against such a sea of troubles.

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Location: Ozarks, United States

Friday, September 10, 2004

Linus's Law Meets The BloodHound Blogs

Eric S. Raymond coined Linus's Law: "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

This observation was made in relation to open-source programming and utilizing the expertise of a diverse group of people in rapidly responding to errors in thought and planning. With the CBS Dead Sea Documents, we have the application of that principle to news reporting. (I love that as the catch phrase for this scandal: "Dan Rather and the Dead Sea Documents." Sounds like a Hardy Boys mystery.)

Jay Currie at TCS gives the breakdown of the story that prompted my little observation. It's also seen in the timeline given by ABC's The Note. The other main players are, of course, Powerline, Little Green Footballs, the Kerry Spot, and InDC Journal. (This episode has caused me to add several more blogs to my Bloodhound Blogs list.)

Like the bug hunting process, the challenge/question about the CBS documents was initially posted. The enormous readership represented a far more expert and varied audience than you would find in either a typical software company or news organization. Readers jumped all over the problem, sharing ideas and observations and cross-checking one another, just like they've done in the Linux development forums. Before the dinosaurs knew there was a bug, the nimble bloggers were demanding an explanation and solution (and if they don't like or trust the Official Answer, they simply won't accept it and will get to the real answer themselves.)

I've seen this process work out several times between software companies and independent coders. Often the Big Boys manage to keep the little guys off the radar. I don't know if CBS News will have the chops to do that this way.

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