Topology Errors

26 August 2006

It Takes a Village to Raise A …

I’ve been stirred awake from my five month siesta to document the latest Dimitri Rotow sighting outside of the Manifold-Davidian Compound in Mount Carmel Center, Texas. Err, I mean Carson City, Nevada. The comments on James Fee’s blog just keep piling on.

It’s nostalgic since a Dimitri rant was one of the primary drivers for starting Topology Errors. I referred to Dimitri as the Unamapper in a post last year since his writing reminded me of the Unabomber Manifesto. At that time, I didn’t know that Dimitri (age 51) and Ted Kaczynski (age 64) were both Harvard graduates.

The comment trail with Dimitri’s conduct and the upshot reaction fascinates me. It’s like observing a mystical creature carve out an existence within a hostile environment. Frankenstein versus the villagers is the image that comes to mind. I simply had to learn more about Dimitri. A Google search yielded an eight year old photo and short bio.

It would be entertaining to pile onto the comment list and point out logic errors (both Dimitri’s and others) and use phrases like Jump the Couch or Goodwin’s Law. But I won’t since the villagers are handling that job.

After I finished reading the comments, I was a bit disappointed in myself for wasting time with my prurient interest. In contrast, I admired those who decided not to join in and “wrestle the pig”.

But upon further reflection, this incident shows the value of the GIS blogosphere as a village. This discussion has value once you strip out the hyperbole. Different beliefs become articulated. The village embraces some and challenges others. Most established or honorable press won’t touch this sort of topic because of the mud involved.

But the village can address this type of topic. Participants who use the discussion to examine their beliefs and test their assumptions win since they learn and grow. Those who don’t learn and grow appear stiff and inhuman. And the village decides who is the sage, who is the fool, and who is the menace.

Note: I only moderate comments to filter spam and haven’t yet modified or deleted a single one related to the discussion.