TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Why the Democratic Ethic of the World Wide Web May Be About to End

Re: Why the Democratic Ethic of the World Wide Web May Be About to End

Garrett Wollman (
Thu, 1 Jun 2006 04:34:36 UTC

In article <>, PAT wrote:

(Lisa Hancock said): > [public replies, please]

I don't care to respond to hancock4's rant, which would only aggravate
my blood pressure, but I wanted to respond to a few things PAT said:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I have often times wondered why people
> like Tim Berners-Lee (credited as the 'inventor' of the World Wide Web)

The fact that you used 'scare quotes' here suggests that you don't
believe TBL invented the Web. Would you care to explain who you think
did, if he didn't?

> did not think far enough ahead in the middle-late 1980's to slap some
> very firm controls on how _his_ product could be permissibly used by
> people in generations to follow.

Perhaps because he (or whomever) had no such power. Remember, the
Gopher folks at the University of Minnesota tried that -- and lost in
the marketplace.

> That is, unless Tim B-L is really okay with the unreal twists and
> turns which have taken place on the web in the past, all the abuses
> and misuses we see as a routine thing of late.

You could actually read what he, and other Internet pioneers like Dave
Clark, have written on the subject -- although I understand uninformed
speculation is much easer.

> Was it really his intention to provide an air of 'legitimacy' to the
> cretins who publish all sorts of scams and spams and then hide in
> obscurity behind web sites which

Huh? How does a scam have more "legitimacy" (your word) when it's on
the Web than when it's delivered in a plain white envelope,
no-return-address? (Or, for that matter, in a plain white envelope,
franked bulk rate and sent by one of America's largest banks?)

> When I changed my title (I like to say 'gave myself a promotion')
> from "Moderator" to "Editor" and published some rules on what would,
> and what would not be acceptable, the shit really hit the fan blade,
> as the expression goes.

And yet, those people who you pissed off could easily have told their
netnews servers that you no longer had anything to do with this
newsgroup, and set someone else up as moderator. At that time, such a
thing was still possible. Yet this didn't happen: most of those
people simply unsubscribed, moving their telecom discussions to other
forums where they would have to deal with you. (Sometimes you make me
wonder why I still bother, but then I realize that someone responsible
needs to pay attention to what you're doing, so long as it's on our
servers and network. Speaking of which, that advertising on the Web
site *must go*; we do not permit our network to be used for commercial


Garrett A. Wollman    | As the Constitution endures, persons in every | generation can invoke its principles in their own
Opinions not those    | search for greater freedom.
of MIT or CSAIL.      | - A. Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You put the emphasis (resulting from the quote marks) on the person named rather than as I intended, which was the result of the creation. In other words, we all know that Tim B-L was the primary person behind the creation of the World Wide Web. Would we use the expression 'invent' or perhaps the expression 'author' or some other expression? When a book is written, we do not say 'the author _invented_ a new book' we say the author _wrote_ a new book. My quote marks were intended to question whether or not 'invent' was the correct term to use, _not_ whether or not B-L was the person correctly identified. I suppose since it was essentially software 'authored' or 'wrote' might have been a better choice of terms. But we also have so many folks who make the claim (as he did himself) that Albert Gore 'invented' the internet and/or the WWW.

One major problem I have -- as do many people who take seriously their efforts at expressing themselves in the written word -- is the choice of words to use. After all, in a text-based newsletter -- as opposed to a personal face to face meeting or at the very least lots of graphics on the page -- we are sometimes woefully lacking in our ability to completely and accurately _communicate_ the meaning of what we say. It is one of those "I know you know what I said but I am not sure you understood my meaning" situations. And I suspect that happens a lot here in this Digest. I always spend at least an hour or two in the preparation of each issue, yet day after day I finish my work sort of frustrated; in my post-reviews of my work after each issue is sent out, I invariably have 'second thoughts' about the way something was printed. My phraseology leaves much to be desired, IMO, from day to day. I have gotten entire issues of the Digest ready to go, then had a change of my mind and pulled it out of the queue in order to change a sentence or a paragraph. I know, it probably sounds stupid, which is the way I feel some days.

You mentioned controls and regulations on Gopher not working in the market-place. That's true; but Gopher never did have the popularity of the WWW. Even in its earliest days, WWW was seen to be a killer- application. Although the traditional controls B-L might have tacked onto the Wen in the beginning might have (probably would have) slowed down its growth a little, my thoughts are people would have adjusted to it and utlimatly made it an even better resource than it is. PAT]

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