The Technium

Where Quotes Come From


The collective memory we call the wikipedia never ceases to amaze me.

Picture 74

I just noticed that Stewart Brand’s famous quote that “information wants to be free” has its own wikipedia page.  It earns a page in part because the quote is only half of what he said, as the wikipedia properly explains. The tribute is a nice trophy.

Strangely, Wikiquote, a site collecting quotes which is published by Wikimedia Foundation, does not serve up very deep background on its quotes. As an example it has a rather enimic page for the same Brand quote  It does however point to an even better page with a more thorough history of “information wants to be free.”

I now realize that every adage should have an encyclopedia page explaining its actual genesis, history of antecedents, counter claims and context.  Like any portriat, the story behind the quote is usually more interesting than the quote.

Here’s a few random adages that have a wikipedia page:

Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

“Ninety percent of everything is crap”

“[Something] too cheap to meter”

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”

Currently wiithout a page (just attribution);

The future is already here – it is just unevenly distributed.




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