@ab5tract has a great post looking at GitHub “through the lens of the ethics of commons-based peer production.”
A key quote which puts it in perspective for me is this:
The software further induces virtue in its participants through the `git blame` function, which immediately calls up the person responsible for a commit. In practice it used as much to know who to praise as it is to know who to berate, but it fulfills one of the the paper’s common criteria for extant commons-based peer production: that of a mechanism to mitigate the potential impacts of malicious users. Slashdot has its moderation system, Wikipedia its editors, and git has `blame`. In fact this functionality is a crucial part of what enables the ‘virtue spreading virtue’ element of such peer production.
img http://img.skitch.com/20091103-wtqrk9ppq3si3sxh2uf3kuwhj.png http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2009/11/01/git-virtue-github-and-commons-based-peer-production
Read the blog post for the whole scope. Thanks @ab5tract!