What is Stop Energy?

by Volker Weber

I have been looking for something like this definition for a long time. Dave Winer explains it very well.

Suppose someone, call him Mr. A, has an idea that he believes is ready to deploy, or is requesting comments as he is getting ready to deploy. So he posts an RFC, usually on a mail list or a website, in the hope that people will spot a problem and help him figure out a solution; or find no problems and co-develop an implementation, or develop a compatible implementation. In theory, the Internet is a collegial environment, with lots of people who want to do new stuff, where one should expect to get this kind of help.

In this scenario, A is a proponent of Forward Motion. In all likelihood, instead of getting help, A will encounter Stop Energy, reasons why he can't or shouldn't be allowed to do what he proposes.

Stop Energy is not reasoned, it never takes into account the big picture, it is the mirror image of Forward Motion. In the Stop Energy model, everyone, no matter how small their stake in a technology, has the power to veto. Nothing ever gets done, and people who want to move forward are frustrated in every attempt to move. Unfortunately, Stop Energy is the rule, not the exception.

I have been conducting a long term study on this phenomenon. Although the results are somewhat heartbreaking there is a funny moment in them. Most creators of stop energy are completely unable to understand that they themselves are the very source of the problem.

There is also one proven solution. Just do it. Do the right thing. Don't ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness. If that is not granted move on. Don't stay with the doomed.

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