[clug] Why the web has gone sour

Lana Brindley lanabrindley at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 17:24:00 MST 2010

On 15 February 2010 11:14, Alex Satrapa <grail at goldweb.com.au> wrote:

> On 15/02/2010, at 10:16 , Lana Brindley wrote:
> > 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.
> What was the nature of this article?

You might remember the story. It was about "Google" being asked to "shut
down" a particular website (I think it was encyclopaedia dramatica or
similar) relating to aboriginals, which apparently contained hate speech. It
contained a number of critical flaws, the main one being that "Google" !=
"the internet".

> > Do I care more about aboriginal rights ... or free speech?
> That's really a question of priorities, not "either/or".

True, but that's really just semantics. In order to parse that article
against my own belief system, I had to decide which I put a higher value on.

> > 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."
> If minorities can't be vilified, racists will be less visible. I'd prefer
> to live in a society where people are free to broadcast their stupidity.
> "Stay away from him dear, he's a racist."  The seductive nature of
> legislation preventing uncomfortable situations arising is what leads to
> autocrats gaining power.
> As for "illegal" material, that's really just a case of "not anything I'm
> personally opposed to" imposed by Michael Atkinson.
> It's already illegal to discriminate against people based on race or
> religion. We don't need to tighten the reins anymore, though it would help
> if we policed (and enforced) the laws we already have. Note that the order
> there is important: police first, enforce second. The two words have
> different meanings.

My point, though, is that this is your opinion. Everyone holds an opinion.
Very few of them are the same.

> > PS: Yeah, I know. I probably raised more questions than answers. My bad.
> How is it bad to find more questions to ask?

I agree, for what it's worth :)

> The people to be most wary of are the ones who propose to have "The
> Answers".

Absolutely. Luckily, I'm far from being one of them.


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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