The Campaign Against Word Pirates Surmounts A Small Snag

Astoundingly thoughtful columnist Dan Gillmor, himself a pioneer Internet user, has started Word Pirates with David Weinberger, he of Joho the Blog. Gillmor & Weinberger intend Word Pirates “to remind people how some good words in our language have been hijacked by corporate and political interests.”

In the best traditions of the Internet, they opened the site up for public contributions. Unfortunately, someone decided to mess with the site by inserting code that took users somewhere gross, an act of “pure malevolence” which made Dan sad and angry.

The exploit got fixed, the site is back in business. It's a very nice concept, although the actual content is a little hit and miss as one might expect given its openness. Many of the contributions are more of the word purist, or nicety of usage, department than “important words [that] are being taken over for selfish reasons.”

The site is built around Blosxom blogging software. Thinking about it, I started to wonder if the site might have been better as a WikiWiki Web, in which subsequent users could modify or erase the contributions of earlier ones. From what I could see on my initial visit, the Word Pirates site only lets me comment on previous entries, not change them. It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that just after the pages suffered such a nasty attack, in fact it is totally counter-intuitive, but somehow it works for Wiki's….

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