The internet has led to a boom in collaboration. Across fields as different as politics to programming –  online collaboration has effected powerful changes to our world.

But what is collaboration? Etymologically, the first use of the word is credited to Jeremy Bentham – a liberal philosopher who supported animal rights and the abolition of slavery. Recording Bentham’s early use, the OED defined the word ‘collaborator’ as:

‘One who  works in  conjunction with  others; esp. in literary, artistic, or scientific work.’

Here we see that collaboration is woven in with the idea of creativity. In more recent times the word has taken on tones of rebellion. Wordnet includes one of its definitions as:

‘[the] act of cooperating traitorously with an enemy that is occupying your country’

When these two senses are combined we can understand collaboration as creative rebellion.