Why The Internet is Good: Community Governance That Works

Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (reagle@MIT.EDU)
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:30:46 -0500

I've published the first public draft of a paper on Internet governance,
IETF/W3C culture, and ICANN. Comments are welcome.


Why The Internet is Good: Community Governance That Works Well.


The Internet is not "good" because it cannot be regulated. Like anything
else, policies are voiced and implemented on the Internet. The true strength
of the Internet is that, as an institution, it exhibits characteristics of
policy formation that appeal to one's sense of liberty. This is not solely
because of maxims like "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes
around it," or "No one knows you're a dog on the Internet." Free speech and
privacy are laudable characteristics of the early Internet, however they are
not absolute nor guaranteed forever more. In fact, mechanisms of identifying
oneself and controlling content can be useful as well as invasive. Instead,
what makes the Internet a "good thing" is that it exhibits anarchical
characteristics of policy formation such as decentralization, consensus, and
openness that real world social structures have striven for -- some with
more success than others. I examine these characteristics in the context of
popular Internet quotations (and anarchist principles) that act as the
belief system of the Internet.

Regards, http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/home.html
Joseph Reagle E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65 BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E
independent research account