Reading the PressThink blog, I came across a couple quotes that apply well to open-source projects:
I kept thinking about a famous passage from Christopher Lasch, the great social critic and historian who died in 1994— before the rise of the Web. In the Revolt of the Elites, he said we learn more from argument than from information, not because opinions are weighter than facts, but because to argue for your ideas (in public) puts those ideas at risk. And that is how we learn. …
Lasch in his book:
If we insist on argument as the essence of education, we will defend democracy not as the most efficient but as the most educational form of government, one that extends the circle of debate as widely as possible and thus forces all citizens to articulate their views, to put their views at risk, and to cultivate the virtues of eloquence, clarity of thought and expression, and sound judgment… small communities are the classic locus of democracy— not because they are “self-contained,” however, but simply because they allow everyone to take part in public debates. Instead of dismissing direct democracy is irrelevant to modern conditions, we need to re-create it on a large scale.