I just found this 2014 quote from Clint Lalonde:
Something that is easy to copy makes it more likely that it will be copied. And if it is copied, it has more chances of living beyond its original life. A thousand versions of something seems to me to be the ultimate sustainability plan for any piece of content.
This is exactly right. And the crazy thing to me is that we have an entire movement based around reuse that has not made it easy to copy things.
I’ll add that profligate copying is probably also the route to getting past the rigidity of the current textbook paradigm. A certain amount of people who copy will adapt a text. But zero percent of people who link to a text will adapt it.
So if you want to get to a culture that iterates the current textbook model out of existence, you need to get people to copy at a level that looks, frankly, absurdly wasteful. I don’t know if “a thousand versions” was hyperbole on Clint’s part, but for me it represents a minimum we should be aiming for on more popular resources. Assume a static percentage of reusers to remixers and get the copy number where it needs to be to produce real pedagogical change.