The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

Fri, 4 Jan 2002 12:43:09 -0800

> move on and... what? just leave it as a festering pile of 404s with the
> occasional treasure trove, or move on and actually do something to fix it?

Move on and fix it.  Make content happen instead of bitching about it on
FoRK.  You sound like Beberg.  Put content out there ( a lot of us FoRKERs
are doing that :).  Ditch the crud (there is always crud, it sort of folows
the rules like bad porn.  It always exists, you just need to find the good
stuff and move on from the bad).

> > This argument has steadily become more and more BS as the years go by.
> has not.

Has not?  My.  At least from my perspective (and really thats all this
trivial little shit is, isn't it? )  the argument that stuff can only be
done well by the experts is fading fast.  AS I pointed out, geek over to, or fuck.. Even check out some of the amazingly insightful bits on
blogger.  I've found quite a treasure trove of things from otherwise non
experts on subjects that really dont' get touched by the 'pros'.  Some, that
even are touched by the pros :)

> > or that a bound volume
> > won't be full of misinformation
> things like encyclopedias and dictionaries have high standards of editing.
> some other books do too, but none so high that i'd cite them as an example
> of what we should strive for (as a general thing, online & off -- and
> (especially!!) on the tv news -- which is more of a wasteland than even
> the net)

It was funny.  My aunt, who I otherwise find to be a troll, and rather
uninsightful, was talking about the 'high standards' and such of
dictionaries in particular.  See, she teaches sixth grade in a general Joe
Public elementary school in California.  The school had gone to great pains
to obtain dictionaries that were geared and designed for a sixth grader (I
believe she said the 4th-6th grade level) to read.  The dictionaries sold
themselves as geared for this age range.

So my aunt thought that was lovely.  The school stamped all the books
(effectively making returns impossible) and proceeded to distribute them to
the students.  Sure enough, within about 10 minutes, students were seeking
out the words that every middleschool kid seeks out (you know you did it
too: )  ... you know, the classics, 'fuck', 'shit' , 'ass', 'bitch'.
Shockingly enough, all said words were present, as well as a few other
special varieties -- 'cunt' , 'twat' and 'dick' (as in the perjorative form)
were also there.  Great editorship for a dictionary designed for SIXTH
graders, marketed to Sixth graders and supposedly geared for their level.

Why do I bring this up?  Obviously this isn't the only example.  This was a
well-known,oft used dictionary, and here was a very bad case of either poor
editorship or really really shitty marketing.  I'm not saying that the net
is a bastion free of words that would bother sixth graders (I personally
find those words enlightening, even for young kids) but its a hard one for
me to pull that just because its published, its accurate, and defined well
and necessarily 'better' per se.

> > (For anything John Hall's reference to Love
> > Canal would at least bring the latter into question) has gotten
> that was from reason -- a paper magazine with real editors

And if I remember correctly, the article was citing to a PUBLISHED book
being FACTUALLY inaccurate.  Here's the original quote:

"You're about to be untricked. If you believe that the guilty party in
the Love Canal tragedy is the Hooker Chemicals & Plastics Corporation,
which the Justice Department is suing, rather than the Niagara Falls
Board of Education, which bought the dump from Hooker in 1953; or if you
believe that Michael Brown's famous book that has become the popular
authority on the whole mess, Laying Waste: The Poisoning of America by
Toxic Chemicals,"

My argument wasn't that publications aren't accurate, but rather to counter
that there isn't ever misinformation put forth.

> >  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.
> to say that is to admit you know little about the world of publishing. go
> to the library and you can see the amazingly vast number of topics which
> get whole volumes or even genres and which are in print (or do the same at
> or, though they won't be quite as
> comprehensive as the library).

My, you dont' even read what I write.  YEs, there are VAST volumes and tomes
of stuff on topics of varying range and scope.  BUt as my example put, there
are still areas (say new medicine, technology, law even) where the books are
still lagging behind. Hell, even magazines and newsprint are still lagging
behind.  THis shit is still cutting edge, still strange and bizzare.  Still
undiscovered or unwanted by a publishing authority.  Thats all I said.  It
has nothing to do with knowing the industry, and everything to do with
topic.  Geh.

>  For
> > example, when I did my research on the DMCA, it was still so
> > new and fresh, I believe I found 2 published books vaguely dealing with
> > topic, none even coming close to the DeCSS case.
> it's hard to have a large number of published volumes available for
> breaking news... that's why it's called... what's the term? o ya,
> 'breaking news'...

which is what I said, which was the glory of the net.  I have a real hard
time believing that even DeCSS a few years from now will have much book
play.  ITs just not sexy enough for publishers.

I think you're so fucking interested in disagreeing and being angry about
the net, that you're not quite reading what's being said.  Oh well.

> > So where was the credence
> > and factual basis I used for my paper?  On the fucking net, baybee.  And
> > have a feeling that quite a few of our academic friends on FoRK had much
> > same circumstances when writing their papers/books/etc.
> not sure what the point is here. the net is certainly useful. never said
> it wasn't. an equally-good source you might have used, had the net not
> been available (and in addition to newspapers & npr) might have been
> interviews... which were also possible in the old days.

Sure.  I could have obtained all addresses of the folks inovlved, written a
few letters, maybe flown out to NY ... The net offered me interviews (mind
you, second hand often, but there were a few first hand IRC conversations
:), but nowhere near the quality of face to face bits.  But isn't this a bit
of a deviation from the whole 'encyclopedias rock because they're published'
argument you had?

> >  To say that the net is somehow inferior merely because it publishes
> > about people's cats,
> i didn't say that either. in fact, i love the web. and i think it's
> superior *because* it publishes pages about people's cats. it's so
> superior and so spectacular that what i am complaining about is that it
> should be better. it should be better than it is by now.

For once I agree :)  I just want to help that process out.  Lets get more
content on the web.  Drown out the cat pages and the fluffy shit about
Britney Spears.