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22 October 2010 @ 10:12 pm
Putting your work on the line  
If you are working on closed source software, only your team reviews your code. Which means that if you make a bone-headed coding mistake, only a small number of people actually know it. But make that same mistake in an open source community, and it’s permanently recorded on the Web―there for anyone to Google it. That takes a special kind of developer, one who can handle that kind of open review and potentially public criticism. But that’s how peer review works in the scientific and medical communities. They’ve shown that by opening things up as widely as possible, developments happen quicker. And people themselves develop their own personal skills and programming talents much more quickly when a larger group reviews their work.

I would be nowhere near the level of programmer I am today were it not for the 20-plus years of putting my code on the line and getting really good feedback. And I’ve had the opportunity to do that for other people. -- Jim Jagielski, Chairman of The Apache Software Foundation (interview) (emphasis added.

A great principle not only for code, and science, but for knowledge in general, which is what makes wikis so powerful, as a way of creating, and as a learning experience for those able to work cooperatively within a wiki community.