It has been pointed out that "the simple corporate charter IS the most robust, bulletproof, legal instrument," and that "the place to embed all your alternative, egalitarian principles and methods is in the corporate bylaws rather than in the charter. This makes them practically invisible to the external legal environment." This is interesting, even though making information invisible somewhat violates the spirit in which pubwan is undertaken. The present document is an attempt at a rough outline of proposed bylaws for the pubwan movement (or for Pubwan, Inc.). Readers are encouraged to edit it.
Pubwan is a repository of nonproprietary data
The singularly obvious unmet need addressed by the pubwan movement is the lack of nonproprietary database content. Consumer decision support (to a limited extent, of course) is addressed by Angie's List, Good Guide, C-Net and many other commercial websites.
When volunteering information, pubwan participants should have the option of marking any data fields as confidential. When so marked, those data are stored for that participant's use only. Period.
All data that are not marked as confidential are in the public domain. Period.
One way in which this combination of privacy and nonprivacy might be implemented is outlined in the video presentation Open Data from the MetaCurrency Project.
Pubwan's data are available for any depth of query
There must be no privileged methods of access to pubwan data. There is no veil behind which deep queries, data mining and other powerful types of data analysis are undertaken, while the 'end user' is dispensed single data points or other information with which to participate passively in the consumer marketplace.
Pubwan is politically neutral
Pubwan is a suite of methods for collecting and analyzing data. Its agenda is limited to the balancing out of asymmetric information, which of course has political implications, but the reasons pubwan participants may have for pursuing informational equity are not the concern of the movement as a whole. Pubwan participation is open to all.
Pubwan is still in the very early stages of development, and this statement of principles is a work in progress. Please feel free to edit this page.
Pubwan is nonprofit
Keeping pubwan data nonproprietary may be best achieved in the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit sector does come with some very real disadvantages, though. If pubwan is to be organized as a business, it is important to establish what it is selling. It should be understood what is not for sale:
Access to data or metadata
Once this is undertaken, the database becomes proprietary. There are already silos of proprietary information about the consumer marketplace.
'Business intelligence' would not be an appropriate industry for pubwan to be involved in, as business counterintelligence is one of the main raisons d'être.