Mathieu O’Neil (AU) The Critique of Law in Free Online Projects

 How do people analyze and critique injustice in free online projects? The online critique of capitalism appears contradictory, as the ability to thrive on the Internet is a manifestation of class domination; and whilst free information products oppose exchange value, they also stimulate the consumption of proprietary hardware. As for critiques of gender and ethnic domination: most definitions of what is fair and excellent online derive from the all-male and all-white universe of hackers. A type of online critique which may be less likely to reproduce wider social domination is the interrogation of rules and judgments. This critique of law contradicts the offline social order, where most judgment processes are opaque and the powerful laugh at the rules. But this critique must grapple with tensions caused by redefinitions of expertise; with the ethics of online research; and, in the case of Wikipedia,with the emergence of a specialized caste of “wikilawyers”.