The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

Fri, 4 Jan 2002 11:46:12 -0800

First off, to the better part of your argument:

Coulda, woulda shoulda.
Move on.

> > Seriously, the Web makes it so easy to find information
> > on so many subjects that the traditional encyclopedia
> > is obsolete.
> maybe. but i wish some of the traditional encyclopedia's editors could
> edit the web. there's also a lot of misinformation and missed
> cross-indexing and other missed opportunities out there. which is not to
> mention that a traditional encyclopedia already exists -- has existed for
> a long time. the CIA factbook has existed for a long time. we should
> already have more unique and only-possible-online things than we do have.

This argument has steadily become more and more BS as the years go by.  The
assumption that it has to be bound to be factual, or that a bound volume
won't be full of misinformation (For anything John Hall's reference to Love
Canal would at least bring the latter into question) has gotten tiresome.

 Sure, there is a whole festering pile of shit out there on the web.  As
(someone? ) said, a ton more articles on people's cats then on say
astrophysics.  But at the same time, there are bits (WELL researched bits by
the way) on topics that would never have a hope of being published.  For
example, when I did my research on the DMCA, it was still so unbelievably
new and fresh, I believe I found 2 published books vaguely dealing with the
topic, none even coming close to the DeCSS case.  So where was the credence
and factual basis I used for my paper?  On the fucking net, baybee.  And I
have a feeling that quite a few of our academic friends on FoRK had much the
same circumstances when writing their papers/books/etc.

 To say that the net is somehow inferior merely because it publishes bits
about people's cats, and to assume that all of the net (Or even most of the
clueful bits) are infested with these mundane points.  To assume that
publications on the net are somehow vastly inferior because you don't need
to suck up to a publisher to get published, is crap.  While I admit peer
review, and editors are valuable (and perhaps that could be incorporated
more) I have a hard time buying that a well-researched bit (i'm thinking a
lot of the stuff here) is somehow less than a published one.
Excluding the cat homepages, and 'Mahir Loves you' shit, we really do have a
treasure trove on the net.  And for those fun topics, like the DMCA/DeCSS
example, the net is the only source for facts (sans a few newspapers and
NPR) that we have.

And misinformation has been dealt with.  We have misinformation in
newspapers, in magazines, and in books.  PUblishers dont' seem to
necessarily stop this, in fact, in some cases they may even encourage it.

> in the last ten years (approximate time since when the net/web has gotten
> to be more and more accessible to more people -- and hence more and
> more popular) we really could have done *so much* more than what we have.
So we fix it now.  Again, shoulda, woulda coulda.