A reflecting and/or refracting Pool: When a local community becomes autonomous online

Margaret Haughwout


The Pool is an online project developed by faculty and students in the New Media Program at the University of Maine that aims to facilitate the sharing of skills and ideas among its users. Still in the development phase, while performing the “release early, release often"” ethic of open source software development, The Pool’s sources are mostly limited to a steady stream of students from the New Media Program. That The Pool to date, is limited to geographically local, and contextually specific use might engender answerable questions about the nature of evolving collaborative systems. This study explores where local context influences Pool development dramatically and where it appears to make little difference by focusing on three main themes: 1) collaboration; 2) student attitudes and strategies of resistance to The Pool; and, 3) licensing trends in The Pool. One of the most interesting aspects of the study shows that as a project develops, users tend to lessen the controls of attribution, and non–commerciality, while increasing the controls of no–transformations and no–combinations. This phenomenon reveals a surprising, anti–intuitive shift in emphasis during the creative process.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v11i4.1322

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