Last year, Floyd Landis became famous as the third American to win Tour de France. His happiness, however, was short-lived. Four days later, it turned out that a urine sample he gave during the race had shown a testosterone proportion outside the permitted range. Landis was indignant, and insisted on his innocence. This began a series of campaigns to clear his name.
The most effective campaign, however, was his use of ‘Wiki Defense’ – where he posted 370 pages of his test documents online, allowing anyone to read and edit comments on the test results. This had attracted other experts of drug testing, scientists (yes, even from NASA), and sympathy from the public. The success of Landis’ use of ‘Wiki Defense’ has led to a number of outcomes:
- Re-examination of drug testing, revealing a series of problems with the protocols and procedures involved.
- Different standards used by various laboratories on accepted ‘normal range’.
- Challenged assumptions of scientific integrity of laboratory testing.
- Began a series of criticisms about today’s mainstream media and journalism.
To me, this is one of the many developments of peer production – where the model is significantly changing our physical landscape and more importantly, the way we consume information, and the level of discernment exercised in the process.
Landis’ ‘Wiki Defense’ can be found at: http://landiscase.wikispaces.com/