[clug] Why the web has gone sour

Lana Brindley lanabrindley at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 16:16:07 MST 2010

On 15 February 2010 09:50, steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:

> Lana Brindley wrote on 15/02/10 9:13 AM:
> >
> http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/why-the-web-has-gone-sour-20100214-nzo5.html
> >
> > Discuss.
> >
> > :)
> >
> > L
> >
> Our Lana,
> Who art in Bungendore (or nearby),
> thank you for our daily 'grenade'/talking-point,
> give us our discussions, etc etc
> [apologies in advance. a lame attempt at humour]

Blessed be, my child.

Which is funny, because when I did live in Bungendore, I lived in an old
convent. (I'm actually in Queanbeyan now, in a house not half so exotic!).
My brother used to refer to me as "Sister Lana" in those days :P

> Can anyone explain to me the thinking behind the "We are Anonymous"
> attack that took down some sites last week?
> I can't fathom their motives or thinking.
> It isn't lawful, AFAIK. But I couldn't say what laws it might violate.
> So you might expect it wasn't done by "Professionals" in the Industry
> where it would violate their Code of Ethics (illegal activity is a NoNo).
> So who are the experts with resources & bandwidth (and time) who are
> doing the attacking??
Other people are probably in a better position to answer that than me, so I
shall refrain from comment.

For now, anyway.

> People who've read the article comment on "Information wants to be Free".
> I'm not sure how railing against consistent censorship laws across all
> media (incl. Cyberspace) is making Information not-free.
> I don't think there's A Right To Porn...
> Unless you're 14, confusing 'Freedom' with Porn-Surfing isn't a problem.
> I believe the Howard/Conroy "Internet Filtering" attempt is doomed to
> failure. I don't support it - it's a waste of time, money and energy.
> Plus it might give people a sense of false security... Worse than none.
> If post-hoc Security methods worked, SPAM would be a solved problem.
> The real question is defining something that *could* work.
> Whenever I raised this point in professional fora I've been howled down
> and attacked...
> Which always made me wonder what their collective agendas were...
I think it's typical of a diverse group of people actually. Let me tell you
a story:

Not so long ago, an article got posted to two different lists that I
subscribe to. One of the lists is chiefly about aboriginal rights, the other
list is about freedom of speech (particularly in relation to the 'clean
feed' debate). The content of the article was held up as a great achievement
by one list, and a terrible loss by the other. Now, I support both
aboriginal and other minority rights, and I'm an advocate for free speech,
but this would indicate that I should be both for and against the one act,
simultaneously. Now that's double-think at its best, and it made me question
my loyalties, at least for a moment.

The point I'm trying to make is that groups (especially groups that rally
around a cause) are made of individuals. Within that sample of the
population, the opinions (and the strength of those opinions) will vary.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, an individuals' adherence to a
particular viewpoint might be stronger or weaker than their adherence to
another - sometimes conflicting - viewpoint. Do I care more about aboriginal
rights ... or free speech?

And I think that what it really comes down to is that not one single
advocate of the filter thinks the same thing as another. Similarly, not one
single opponent to the filter thinks the same as any other. While this
sometimes makes the 'movement' look disorganised and confused, I'd like to
see you try and create any more cohesion than there is.

So, to answer the question, what's the "collective agenda"? No idea.
Possibly, the best answer to that is "Information should be free. But ..."

You can then add any caveat you want:
"... not porn."
"... not anything illegal."
"... not if it means that minorities can be vilified."
"... not hate speech."
"...not anything I'm personally opposed to."

Me, personally? I can't stand white supremacists, but I will fight to the
death their right to free speech.


PS: Yeah, I know. I probably raised more questions than answers. My bad.

Cheers! Lana

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being
comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make
up your mind  not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a
fairly good time.
 - Edith Wharton


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