Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Have you been Groklawed?

Tony Mobily, the editor in chief of Free Software Magazine, has coined a new term for use in the blogosphere: Groklawed. The Groklaw Effect is what will happen to you if you play dirty against a well established internet community. A mention of suspected foul play will focus the attention of thousands upon your organization that start digging for the smoking gun, the illicit payments, the odd e-mail from a lowly representative of whatever organization that seems to benefit from your less-than-savory decisions.

If anything it would force organizations to be as honest and transparant as possible:
Unlike the Slashdot effect, the Groklaw effect is much more dooming for the company receiving it. While the Slashdot effect eventually lessens, and your servers can finally stop working overtime, the Groklaw effect are longer-lasting, and in order to get it to stop you can either straightened your actions, or pay the dearest price for any illegal or unethical action you carried out.

Hence, the Groklaw Effect is the virtual version of a lynch mob. But then again, if you simply play by the rules of the free and open source community when dealing with free and open source community (Nokia, anybody?), you don’t have to experience what SCO, OOXML and Becta have experienced. You don’t have to be Groklawed!


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