Duguid 2006

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Duguid, Paul. "Limits of Self-Organization: Peer Production and 'Laws of Quality'." First Monday 11.10(October 2006). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1405/1323

problems if a Project Gutenberg version of Tristam Shandy

"Tristram Shandy has yet more challenges. For example, one of the most famous pages, as a page, in all literature comes after the death of the vicar, Yorick, when Sterne inserts two black pages into the book as if in mourning. Presenting a page, as a page, in ASCII is undoubtedly difficult. Making it black even more so. But first, in the spirit of Linus’s Law, the bug has to be recognized before it can be classified and fixed. Later in the book when Sterne inserts marbled pages, the editor recognizes this and inserts another editorial interpolation between parentheses to mark their absence (“(two marble plates)”). Here, it may be hard for Gutenberg’s general reader again to recognize that this is not one of Sterne’s own parentheses, footnotes, or editorial asides, but rather a Project Gutenberg editorial intervention."
"In sum, the Gutenberg Shandy will challenge all but the most determined general reader, who unfortunately is likely to blame the difficulties on Sterne. It’s not hard to guess how some difficulties arose. The editor couldn’t use a twentieth–century edition as that would pose copyright problems and, no doubt reluctant to damage a valuable book on a scanner, the editor wouldn’t use an eighteenth–century edition. Instead, a safe, nineteenth–century, out–of–copyright, four–volume version appears to have been chosen. Unfortunately, the “best” edition from these practical viewpoints was one of the worst from the point of view of Gutenberg’s general reader. The critic R.C. Bald noted that the majority of errors in Tristram Shandy “originate in some popular nineteenth–century editions.” Since then, a century of careful work by editors, publishers, bookshops and libraries has pushed many misbegotten, four–volume texts to the margin. Until now, only the intrepid or the unlucky general reader would stumble upon this text in a library [32]. At a stroke, Project Gutenberg has undone this effort, honored Gresham’s Law, made one of the most egregious editions in the 240 years of the book into one of the most readily available, and added flaws of its own."