August 27, 2009

Do the right thing: Max Forte, Open Anthropology, and the other Open Anthropology (OAC)

I joined the Open Anthropology Cooperative, like many others, thinking for some reason that there was some kind of relationship with the Open Anthropology that Max Forte has been working so hard to create for some time.

Well, that's not the case. There is no real connection between the two, despite the fact that they basically share the same name. In fact, what is happening over at the OAC is dramatically different from what Forte is trying to do with his site/project.

In light of this post at Open Anthropology by Max, and the tail end of this one at the OAC, I think it's high time for the folks at the Co-op to do the right thing and change the name to reflect the fact that they are two completely different projects. Makes perfect sense to me.

UPDATE: As the discussions and arguments continue about this, a couple of things seem pretty clear. Part of the issue is that many people have their own ideas of what "open anthropology" means, and this is muddling the whole affair, to a certain extent. The issue at hand is the fact that these two sites bear pretty much the same name. If somebody started a Savage Minds Cooperative, I have a feeling that the folks at Savage Minds might take issue with it--especially if the new project had nothing to do with their own site. Just a guess. Another issue is that Forte has very specific ideas for his project, while the OAC is fundamentally different. There really is no single thing that the OAC is, beyond being a conglomeration of everyone who happens to join it. It's a free-for-all. And there's nothing wrong with that, at all. It's just a different project.

Another part of an issue is about control of meaning, and this is where it gets a little slippery. When things boil down to ownership of meaning that's when it gets messy. Ultimately, I understand Max Forte's position in this, and think that the OAC is clearly a take-off (at least nominally) from his site. In a sea of words, it amazes me that the OAC was named as it was, considering all of the possibilities. Seems to me there should be a path to resolving this situation.

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