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Paul B. De Laat
University of Groningen
  1. Trusting Virtual Trust.Paul B. de Laat - 2005 - Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):167-180.
    Can trust evolve on the Internet between virtual strangers? Recently, Pettit answered this question in the negative. Focusing on trust in the sense of ‘dynamic, interactive, and trusting’ reliance on other people, he distinguishes between two forms of trust: primary trust rests on the belief that the other is trustworthy, while the more subtle secondary kind of trust is premised on the belief that the other cherishes one’s esteem, and will, therefore, reply to an act of trust in kind (‘trust-responsiveness’). (...)
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  2. Open Source Production of Encyclopedias: Editorial Policies at the Intersection of Organizational and Epistemological Trust.Paul B. de Laat - 2012 - Social Epistemology 26 (1):71-103.
    The ideas behind open source software are currently applied to the production of encyclopedias. A sample of six English text-based, neutral-point-of-view, online encyclopedias of the kind are identified: h2g2, Wikipedia, Scholarpedia, Encyclopedia of Earth, Citizendium and Knol. How do these projects deal with the problem of trusting their participants to behave as competent and loyal encyclopedists? Editorial policies for soliciting and processing content are shown to range from high discretion to low discretion; that is, from granting unlimited trust to limited (...)
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  3. Copyright or Copyleft?: An Analysis of Property Regimes for Software Development.Paul B. de Laat - 2005 - Research Policy 34 (10):1511-1532.
    Two property regimes for software development may be distinguished. Within corporations, on the one hand, a Private Regime obtains which excludes all outsiders from access to a firm's software assets. It is shown how the protective instruments of secrecy and both copyright and patent have been strengthened considerably during the last two decades. On the other, a Public Regime among hackers may be distinguished, initiated by individuals, organizations or firms, in which source code is freely exchanged. It is argued that (...)
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  4. NAVIGATING BETWEEN CHAOS AND BUREAUCRACY: BACKGROUNDING TRUST IN OPEN-CONTENT COMMUNITIES.Paul B. de Laat - 2012 - In Karl Aberer, Andreas Flache, Wander Jager, Ling Liu, Jie Tang & Christophe Guéret (eds.), 4th International Conference, SocInfo 2012, Lausanne, Switzerland, December 5-7, 2012. Proceedings. Springer.
    Many virtual communities that rely on user-generated content (such as social news sites, citizen journals, and encyclopedias in particular) offer unrestricted and immediate ‘write access’ to every contributor. It is argued that these communities do not just assume that the trust granted by that policy is well-placed; they have developed extensive mechanisms that underpin the trust involved (‘backgrounding’). These target contributors (stipulating legal terms of use and developing etiquette, both underscored by sanctions) as well as the contents contributed by them (...)
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  5. Open Source Software: A New Mertonian Ethos?Paul B. de Laat - 2001 - In Anton Vedder (ed.), Ethics and the Internet. Intersentia.
    Hacker communities of the 1970s and 1980s developed a quite characteristic work ethos. Its norms are explored and shown to be quite similar to those which Robert Merton suggested govern academic life: communism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized scepticism. In the 1990s the Internet multiplied the scale of these communities, allowing them to create successful software programs like Linux and Apache. After renaming themselves the `open source software' movement, with an emphasis on software quality, they succeeded in gaining corporate interest. As (...)
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  6. The Use of Software Tools and Autonomous Bots Against Vandalism: Eroding Wikipedia’s Moral Order?Paul B. de Laat - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (3):175-188.
    English - language Wikipedia is constantly being plagued by vandalistic contributions on a massive scale. In order to fight them its volunteer contributors deploy an array of software tools and autonomous bots. After an analysis of their functioning and the ‘ coactivity ’ in use between humans and bots, this research ‘ discloses ’ the moral issues that emerge from the combined patrolling by humans and bots. Administrators provide the stronger tools only to trusted users, thereby creating a new hierarchical (...)
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  7. From Open-Source Software to Wikipedia: ‘Backgrounding’ Trust by Collective Monitoring and Reputation Tracking.Paul B. de Laat - 2014 - Ethics and Information Technology 16 (2):157-169.
    Open-content communities that focus on co-creation without requirements for entry have to face the issue of institutional trust in contributors. This research investigates the various ways in which these communities manage this issue. It is shown that communities of open-source software—continue to—rely mainly on hierarchy (reserving write-access for higher echelons), which substitutes (the need for) trust. Encyclopedic communities, though, largely avoid this solution. In the particular case of Wikipedia, which is confronted with persistent vandalism, another arrangement has been pioneered instead. (...)
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  8. Profiling Vandalism in Wikipedia: A Schauerian Approach to Justification.Paul B. de Laat - 2016 - Ethics and Information Technology 18 (2):131-148.
    In order to fight massive vandalism the English- language Wikipedia has developed a system of surveillance which is carried out by humans and bots, supported by various tools. Central to the selection of edits for inspection is the process of using filters or profiles. Can this profiling be justified? On the basis of a careful reading of Frederick Schauer’s books about rules in general (1991) and profiling in particular (2003) I arrive at several conclusions. The effectiveness, efficiency, and risk-aversion of (...)
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  9. Internet-Based Commons of Intellectual Resources: An Exploration of Their Variety.Paul B. de Laat - 2006 - In Jacques Berleur, Markku I. Nurminen & John Impagliazzo (eds.), IFIP; Social Informatics: An Information Society for All? In Remembrance of Rob Kling Vol 223. Springer.
    During the two last decades, speeded up by the development of the Internet, several types of commons have been opened up for intellectual resources. In this article their variety is being explored as to the kind of resources and the type of regulation involved. The open source software movement initiated the phenomenon, by creating a copyright-based commons of source code that can be labelled `dynamic': allowing both use and modification of resources. Additionally, such a commons may be either protected from (...)
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  10.  73
    Trusting the (Ro)Botic Other: By Assumption?Paul B. de Laat - 2015 - SIGCAS Computers and Society 45 (3):255-260.
    How may human agents come to trust (sophisticated) artificial agents? At present, since the trust involved is non-normative, this would seem to be a slow process, depending on the outcomes of the transactions. Some more options may soon become available though. As debated in the literature, humans may meet (ro)bots as they are embedded in an institution. If they happen to trust the institution, they will also trust them to have tried out and tested the machines in their back corridors; (...)
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