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Friday, July 15, 2005

Salon Columnist Says It's Time to Let "Bugzilla Meet the Press" and Adapt Open Source Technique to Corrections

Salon's Scott Rosenberg has an interesting idea: Why not apply to the corrections dilemma in the MSM and the Blogosphere an approach similar to that used by open source software developers?

Under the open source approach, everybody who finds a bug or thinks they have goes to a public web site and posts a description, which allows the developers to determine if the post concerns a genuinely new bug or duplicates to some degree an existing problem that has or is being solved.

Here's how Rosenberg explains it:

"The model doesn't map perfectly onto journalism, but it's not too far off: Let people file "bug reports" if they believe your publication has published something in need of correcting. The publication can respond however it seems appropriate: If the complaint is frivolous, you point that out; if it's a minor error of spelling or detail, you fix it; if it's a major error, you deal with it however you traditionally deal with major errors -- but you've left a trail that shows what happened.
"However you respond, you've opened a channel of communication, so that people who feel you've goofed don't just go off to their corners (or their blogs!) feeling that you're unresponsive and irresponsible."

Makes sense to me, though I can see some bugs that would have to worked out before the system would be anything more than a mere paper-trail creator. Go here for the full post. Comments anybody?