So, as I feel the need to warn you, the following is a rant. Perhaps not the rant of epic proportions that I might hope, but a rant none-the-less. See, I have one thing to say to the entire internet: You suck.
Now, I've been online since getting an Omnifest account in eighth grade, and have trapsed Usenet newsgroups, seen the web from it's infancy to it's current state, and even caught the tail end of the old-school BBS days. I may be relatively young, but as I started out early I cut my teeth on the things that predate the access of even the visitors of this site. I have seen the internet go from a place where only the educated and geeky interacted to becoming the mainstream portion of media that it is today. I say this not to brag, but to merely establish my level of credibility... So, please listen to me when I say this: Everyone on the internet is dumb, possibly even me.
I could rant at you about the MySpace kids, who have replaced the LiveJournal kids, who have replaced the Geocities/Tripod kids. I could complain about people who talk with bizarre acronyms and who purposely avoid speaking english in place of what we once deemed "netspeak" back in the day. I could complain about all of that, and talk about the plan I came up with eight years ago to create a "haven" of sites that required an IQ test to register for.
..But that's not even what's bothering me right now. What's bothering me right now are the Nerds themselves who started out this whole thing. See, Usenet seemed cool to me when I was a kid, and I took the obnoxiously titled "netiquette" seriously. And you see, I thought that's the way people should act.
In my defense, I was 14 at the time.
See, it's not the way people should act. Because while many of those people are perfectly reasonable, mature adults - others are obnoxious, self-important gits. Take Slashdot for example. I read Slashdot regularly, and I enjoy it. Long ago though, I realized that reading the comments section was worthless. And that was okay though, I didn't have to read the comments page. Slashdot though has since added "Tagging." Now, I am not against tagging stories. It's an interesting idea that is possibly a little fad-like, but in the end not terrible at all. What is terrible though is what some people actually tag entries with.
See, any time someone posts a story that is unflattering towards a technology, or that just doesn't favor their particular opinion, they feel the need to tag it as "FUD," regardless of the veracity of the article's content. FUD, for those of you who don't know, stands for "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt" which is a marketing tactic where one spreads rumors and fear about their competitors. Microsoft didn't start it, but they are rather infamous for it.
But for every legitimately FUDish article, there are half a dozen Non-FUD articles that get tagged with "FUD." Why? Because some geeks are territorial assholes. I think this is what happens when people don't have an outside life. They draw their personal little war, and loyalties are decided before the facts come in.
Not unlike Politics.
The problem is that these same people think they're the elite. And I have to admit, I can be a bit of an elitist myself - but not so much that I balk at any evidence contrary to my own ideas. I don't mind being proven wrong - in fact, if someone can prove me wrong about something, I sort of welcome it. See, the only way I can be right is if I know what right is in the first place.
So, while I try to build a haven from stupidity on my own site, I look at other places and wonder if it's even possible. Maybe I'm broadcasting a new type of stupid that I am not aware of? Because, it seems to me, that everywhere that preaches to be not-stupid is merely a different breed of the same problem.
Maybe I need to stare in a mirror for a while, no?
The Internet is, to paraphrase Jack Venooker, the purest form of communicative anarchy. Anyone can post to it. "Banning" someone from a site or domain name is virtually unenforceable. Anyone can make their own site, and have a shot at getting famous. The Internet is used for political resistance in places like China. It is also used to push much less noble outlaw agendas--- like the agenda of NAMBLA.
To the degree that I have any political leanings, I'm an anarchist. Which is why I consider the Internet to be more capable of good than evil. Of course, any good idea can be misapplied and the best of systems can be abused.... It will be itneresting to see what direction the Internet goes in in the decades to come, and whether or not it becomes a place that is more controlled and less anarchic. I hope not....
As for Internet porn--- that's merely an extension of an age-old industry that thrived before the internet and will continue to thrive even if it somehow gets driven from the Internet. Its cultural, historic and financial autonomy is probably what keeps it so divorced from everything else.
I dunno. I think that the porn-net and the rest of the in-tor-web have been fairly well divided that you can only find the porn if you intend to look for it. Kind of like cable TV -- it's relegated to certain "channels".
Speaking of 'net infancy, anyone remember the channels idea that Microsoft tried to push? You'd subscribe, get updates, etc -- and, of course, Microsoft controlled it all. I think it's pretty well the conceptual predecessor to RSS feeds.
I'm noticing, especially on the 'net, that technologies that lend themselves to decentralization are the ones that have the most staying power. That's why Sony is SO fucked...