Rogue Diplomacy

August 17, 2009

This weekend I had the opportunity to give a talk about the Mozilla community to a pretty diverse audience. The focus of the event was on open/participatory models of cooperation, so I tried to tilt the talk in that direction. The response was pretty amazing. Despite having only one or two programmers in the audience, there was a ton of engagement, with lots of questions and discussion. I’d originally slated the talk to last about an hour, but it ended up taking 2 and a half hours with all of the audience participation. A lot was discussed about whether the “Mozilla Model” could be applied to other aspects of society, or whether the forkability and patchability of code (that is to say, the ease of experimenting with mutually exclusive solutions simultaneously) makes software a special case. In the end I think that everybody, including myself, learned a lot.

Note to self – don’t recommend Adblock when there might be web publishers in the audience.

I put together some slides (pdf, keynote) for the occasion that I based on Mike Beltzner‘s 2009 intern brownbag slides (keynote). I was pretty happy with how they came out, and I’d encourage anyone interested in talking about Mozilla (including beltzner!) to make use of them.

3 Responses to “Rogue Diplomacy”

  1. Mardeg said

    Instead of a “recommendation” you could just mention Adblock in the context of contemporary comics or something🙂
    http://xkcd.com/624/

  2. fsync said

    Would love to hear what exactly was said about AdBlock and what you heard back from the publishers in the audience.

    One of the greatest things about Firefox, from the perspective of *end users*, is the availability of AdBlock.

    “Firefox builds an experience where the center of the entire system remains a person. Not a website, not a business, not a piece of software.”

  3. bholley said

    @fsync – So I was talking about different extensions, and listed/described a few of my favorite (firebug, Adblock, etc). When I was describing Adblock, one guy’s jaw dropped and his hand shot up. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but something along the lines of “as a web publisher, I find this terrifying”. He was mostly afraid that firefox would one day ship with Adblock by default, and when I told him that would never happen (and that there are only about 3 million Adblock plus users), he seemed quite relieved.

    As nice as Adblock is, it’s true that it’s a pretty big danger to free content on the web. Right now it’s not a big deal because so few people use it. But if, say, 80% of Firefox users started to use it, I think we’d see a lot of content start to disappear or go behind paywalls.

    I still have some hope in the solution described here:
    http://adblockplus.org/blog/an-approach-to-fair-ad-blocking

    But we’ll see.

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