“Coase’s Mormon Penguin” — Or “How to REALLY Turn the Bloggernacle Into Something Fantastic”

John Dehlin Mormon, Mormon Stories

In my day job, I work for one of the world’s leading zealots for openness–especially as it relates to educational content.

Last year, Dr. David Wiley asked me to read an article entitled "Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm" by Yochai Benkler (since this article was published in the Yale Law Review, I thought there might be a SMALL chance that some of you lawyer-types in the bloggernacle might be a bit interested).

Anyway, this article explains why initiatives like Linux, Wikipedia, Slashdot, and the Open Directory Project have been so successful.  If you don’t know anything about these initiatives–all you need to know is that literally thousands of distributed volunteers created and run these projects–and that they have had a significant impact on the world.  Benkler calls this "Commons-based peer production".

Well–if any of you happened to catch my Sunstone presentation, you’ll know that while I have great respect for the bloggernacle, I believe that it is underachieving in a few major ways.  I do love the posts, and the conversations–but I believe that we can do even greater things than we have done so far.

The project that I’m most interested in creating is the following:

  • A topical directory (wiki-based) for issues in Mormon Studies, that provides well-written, well-researched, semi-authoritative "whitepapers" on each of the major historical and cultural issues facing Mormons today.  These would be non-polemical….neither apologetic, nor antagonistic.  The audience would be LDS folk who come to the internet for the first time seeking answers to tough questions…but are seeking a truthful, open, honest discussion of the basic "facts" (as best as they can be established)
  • Each of these whitepapers would reference the seminal articles written Sunstone, Dialogue, JMH that discuss these issues, and might even link to significant blog postings in the bloggernacle.
  • Screencast presentations for each of these whitepapers would ultimately be created, to reach out to the newer generations that are not much into the written word, but apprecaite a multimedia approach.
  • Ultimately, I would love to see mini-videos or even documentaries created based on these whitepapers…shown each year at the "Sunstone Film Festival" or something of this nature.  This could obviously extend to documentaries about Mormon issues, people, etc.

This wiki has already been created, and is ready for collaboration. If any of you are interested in participating, please let me know. 

John Dehlin
Aspiring Member of the Bloggernacle Community

P.S.  I know that FAIR is also working on a similar project.  I think this is good, and I fully support this endeavor.  I even envision a cross-linking between our directories over time.   I just believe that in addition to the apologetic stuff, and the anti-Mormon stuff, some people would benefit from an organized directory of content that presents the evidence without arguing in favor of, or against, any foregone conclusions.