The range of Linus' Law

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The Range of Linus' Law
Authors: Shane Greenstein [edit item]
Citation: IEEE Micro 32 (1): 72. 2012 February. IEEE.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1109/MM.2012.10.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: No but verified
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The Range of Linus' Law is a publication by Shane Greenstein.


[edit] Abstract

After more than a decade of successful growth, Wikipedia continues to defy easy characterization. It receives more than 400 million viewers per month. Close to four million articles grace its web pages in English alone. Volunteers built the entire corpus of text. This experience suggests that Wikipedia has done something right, but begs the question: Which actions mattered, and which ones were merely incidental? Answering that question is the key to finding general lessons for countless other web sites that aggregate user-generated content. Many Wikipedians believe that Linus’ Law is an important ingredient in their sauce. Coined by Eric Raymond, this law is less legal precept than slogan—namely, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” Few people know that it is actually a pert and terse restatement of a quote from Linus Torvalds, who originally said, “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.” Raymond’s restatement drops all the qualifiers, vesting the proposition with more certitude and making it more egalitarian by extending it to nonexperts. Wikipedia’s experience suggests Raymond was onto something. Let’s consider when the Law works and why it sometimes fails at Wikipedia.

[edit] Research questions

"Linus' Law is “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” When does the Law work and why does it sometimes fails at Wikipedia?"

Research details

Topics: Encyclopedias, Wikipedia as a system, Quality improvement processes [edit item]
Domains: Economics, Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Many Wikipedians believe that Linus’ Law is an important ingredient in their sauce. Coined by Eric Raymond, this law is less legal precept than slogan—namely, ‘‘Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.’" [edit item]
Research design: Conceptual [edit item]
Data source: N/A [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Linus’ Law depends on some economic conditions and quite a few supplements. Eyeballs may be cheap to assemble, but it works better at Wikipedia when objective information is inexpensive to find, or when additional subjective information is cheap to add. It also works better when the cost of verification is low.

It also works best in the presence of civility. Every supplement to Linus’ Law requires editors with the right attitude. Crucially, no side must claim exclusive rights to determine the answer."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Linus’ Law depends on some economic conditions and quite a few supplements. Eyeballs may be cheap to assemble, but it works better at Wikipedia when objective information is inexpensive to find, or when additional subjective information is cheap to add. It also works better when the cost of verification is low.