I read your latest post about not having time to properly answer e-mails, so I'll keep this short.
What's your take on using an idea that you've seen on an internet forum or social networking site, and basing your next business project on it? For example, a member posts an idea that they have on a public forum, and everyone responds with, "Wow, that's a great idea - you should start a business and make some cash!" The member says that they just do it as a hobby and aren't really interested in making money.
If someone comes along and sees that, they indeed may want to take on the project and start making profit off of it, essentially stealing the idea and reaping the benefits.
Is that wrong? Since it was posted online for all to see on a public forum, hasn't that member forfeited any rights he had to the idea originally?
Every now and then, I write a fun ultra-short flippant post, and maybe even make some sort of point in the process. IE, see: "Does Free Will Exist?"
I almost did that here. I really, really wanted to.
The post would have looked like this - quoting your entire post, and then:
> Is that wrong?
And that would have been it!
Wouldn't that have been fun and clever?
Okay, then I thought, well maybe I can still be flippant, but also useful at the same time. So I would have written:
Go read this:
So yeah, go read that.
But then, y'know, I decided to actually write something serious. Here's my real answer:
Hey F, I respect that you're thinking through ethical questions, but you can't ask "Is this right?" without defining your ethical structures.
Ethics don't exist outside of you. Ethics are what you choose to live by.
I can't quite do that for you. I can share with you some way to look at ethics, or how I do, or whatever. If you asked, "What are your ethics on this point?" I'd tell you.
But I have weird ethics. I have duty-based ethics, where I look at what duties I have in the situation. If I was on a private forum like the Dynamite Circle and I copied someone's business marketing case, that'd be fucked. That's no good. Totally wrong. Breaks a duty I have to Dan Andrews, who graciously invited me to join, and fellow DCers who share quite a lot about their business trusting that it's a curated environment.
On a public forum, I think there's no such duties.
That's before even getting into the value of ideas, which is virtually nil. The value is in creating the magic for people, serving them, fulfilling their needs - thinking up a way to do that doesn't serve their needs. Executing on it does.
If someone said, "I'd like to tell you an idea in confidence to get your perspective, I'll pay you keep it confident, and you'll benefit from knowing it but can't compete with me... and it's something you'd never, ever discover on your own" - and you say yes? Okay. Duty there. That'd be stealing an idea, and no good.
A private forum with an expectation of discretion? Maybe stealing an idea.
A public forum? No duties. Get started. Deliver that value. Win.
Actually, my real answer is this -
> Is that wrong?