Open Web

The Open Web is the most important infrastructure and ecosystem that supports connected learning and making in the digital space.

a Mark Surman doodle

When we talk about “openness”, there are a variety of things that come to mind. We can view openness i) through the lens of copyright/copyleft, ii) through the technical structures that make a webpage open or not, iii) through the cultural practices the Open Community prides itself on, and so on. The term openness is a confluence of technical, cultural and social definitions that can get meta pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, there are several tenets of openness that apply to the technical implementation as well as the social and cultural usage of the Web:

  • The first is decentralization. The Open Web is made up of thousands and thousands of independent servers and webpages. The networked computers that make up the Internet are not owned by any single entity. Additionally, webpages are created and maintained by millions of people. Decentralization in the social and cultural space is inherent in the Open Web.

  • Another tenet is transparency. You can see how any webpage is built, you can copy a webpages code and duplicate and/or remix it to be your own by viewing its source code. Furthermore, the culture of Open is one that transparent about processes, creations and authors. We make media and write posts about our work. We ask questions and allow anyone to feedback on them through commenting and social media. We change things based on what our peers say, and we explain our decisions openly, so that everyone can see not only what we've done, but how and why. We iterate on our ideas based on the feedback we receive from our peers.

  • With decentralization and transparency comes the tenet of hackability. The Open Web is a structure that makes remix and redistribution easy, and the culture that lives by these tenets takes pride in extending, changing and reforming each other's work. Because we can see how things are built, we can change them and apply new meaning and context atop someone else's ideas. We start to have a conversation through production, and that is something that is supported by and encouraged through the Open Web and Open Culture.

Mozilla is a global community of people who work openly. To learn more about what exactly that means, check out this great list of resources.

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