A common Drumbeat questions is ‘what do you mean by open web?‘ Having a solid answer is especially critical as reach out to teachers, lawyers, filmmakers and other people new to Mozilla.
Of course, there are many good answers. Nonetheless, we need a single, simple list of ‘open web ingredients’ to explain what we mean to people interested in Drumbeat. Here is what we thinking about using:
The open web is made up of four primary ingredients:
- Freedom: built with technology and content that anyone can study, use or improve.
- Participation: anyone can participate or innovate without asking permission from others.
- Decentralization: the architecture is distributed and control is shared by many parties.
- Generativity: we can make new ideas from old ones. As we use, we also hack and innovate.
Or, for short:
- Open web = freedom, participation, decentralization and generativity.
This definition is inspired in part by Mitchell Baker’s ‘better internet’ talk from about a year ago. It was also shaped by responses to Mozilla’s what is the open web? contest from earlier this year and by other attempts to define the open web.
One issue we bounced around on was whether to talk about transparency (we had that in earlier edits) or freedom (the ‘study’ element of software freedom covers ‘transparency’). The current version uses freedom both because of its breadth and because free software and content are clearly core building blocks of the open web. Could be too arcane for the Drumbeat audience?
Keep in mind: our goal is a working open web definition for drumbeat.org, not something canonical. It should speak to people who aren’t necessarily technical and suggest how they can shape the web. At the same time, it needs to be sound, encompassing the primary ingredients we believe make up the open web.
The plan is to put an expanded (and likely evolved) version of this definition up on drumbeat.org later this week. If people like it, maybe we can use it more broadly in other venues. Who knows.
Comments and suggested improvements welcome, as always.