[clug] Why the web has gone sour

Geoff Swan shinobi.jack at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 16:57:28 MST 2010

Perhaps the "souring" of the internet is related to its increased
accessability. Where once it was largely the domain of the
technologically literate now *everyone* has access and to a degree can
be heard. This is a good thing in that the internet is increasingly
useful as communication medium, however it now exposes people to ideas
and information they previously may not have come across and allows
people who agree with each other to collect into larger groups. This
cuts both ways, not all information is helpful and not all ideas (no
matter how popular) are good or even correct. The trend towards
sensationalism means that on average (it seems to me) it is the
sillier, less correct topics that get the greatest coverage, and
serious topics are not necessarily covered acurately "Never spoil a
good story with the truth". Responsible thought is not encouraged
enough, instead we legislate to protect us from having to think and
make decisions - this is now extending online. In many cases it is
increasingly difficult to decipher *quality* information from amongst
all the opinions. "if enough people say/believe the same thing perhaps
it is true" (works on discworld - not here)
The above being said though, I find that I am appreciating the
internet more and more. There is good information out there, and great
people. The internet can provide access to both. But like anything -
it requires common sense and critical thought to discern the
difference between bargain and scam, truth and popular opinion. I
don't think the internet has soured, there are just a lot more - how
do you say "laymen" - using it. (not that that is a bad thing)


On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 10:48 AM, Alex Satrapa <grail at goldweb.com.au> wrote:
> On 15/02/2010, at 09:13 , Lana Brindley wrote:
>> http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/why-the-web-has-gone-sour-20100214-nzo5.html
> Some guy I've never heard of writes a book about how trolling on the Internet didn't leave him feeling enlightened.
> As for "information wants to be free" - that's a term coined by William Gibson, if I'm not mistaken. The original idea was that humans are a chatty bunch by nature - our earliest history is only verbally recorded, passed down from generation to generation as stories. We love telling stories, we love communicating useful or interesting words to our peers. Thus any time we learn something new (or hear or see something new), the innate desire is to communicate this new thing.
> That's why we have art in the first place - artists are simply people who are well practised in communicating these new things or strong emotions through some form of media.
> "Lanier believes that by fetishising and over-stating the power of this collective so-called intelligence we undervalue individual humans."
> News Flash: Democracy is based on exactly the same "wisdom of the crowds" ideal.
> Except that the guy who originally proposed Democracy as a political system was painfully aware that not all people were able to act in the common good, and others would not take any interest in the politics that influence their lives. There a word for those people: "Idiots". No, go look it up - it's derived from the Greek word for "layman", someone unaware of or unconcerned by politics.
> I do agree with his comments about "information overload" being due to software designers insisting on flooding people with useless facts.
> "One effect of the so-called free way of thinking is that it could eventually force anyone who wants to survive on the basis of mental activity ... to enter into some sort of legal or political fortress - or become a pet of a wealthy patron - in order to be protected from the rapacious hive mind," writes Lanier. "What free really means is that artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers will have to cloak themselves within stodgy institutions."
> What artists need in order to survive is a means of getting their product to market for a fair price. What artists do not need is a rabid religious rampage where anyone who violates copyright is sued into oblivion. There's no respect to be garnered there. For copyright laws to be respected, the copyright holders must treat their potential customers with respect.
> Stores like the iTunes Music Store seem to me to be an ideal world, where Apple markets its product (the store) to as many people as possible, small musicians market to the Apple iTMS, and the people who want the music can get access to it for a fair price.
> What I don't know is whether a particular artist (eg: Hayley, "Dreadlock Cowboy") will get paid more of my $20 if I buy her album from the iTMS or CDBABY. Note that CDBABY ships a physical CD in the post, so I expect the cost of provision is higher for CDBABY.
> I wonder if people would have more respect for copyright legislation if the copyright legislation itself was easier to handle? I wonder if people would be more interested in paying for music if music was affordable and accessible? I hear the iTMS isn't doing so bad. How's that Plays For Sure vs Zune thing going? Is there an equivalent from someone else, which ships unencumbered media such as Ogg Vorbis/Theora?
> Alex
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