17 thoughts on “The Internet’s Creators”

  1. I can imagine similar commentary and laments by the Krell of Altair IV just before they were wiped out by monsters from the Id that were enabled by the machines their geniuses had created to make things better. Now the anonymity of social media has enabled the release of monsters from the Id here. You would think the Krell would have recognized the problem at this point in their technological evolution. But alas, they went ahead and animated the monsters. Just wait…

    1. I’ve spent decades wondering why they would do something so silly. The only conclusion I can come to is that they were under the impression they were better that.

      A false illusion. Reminds me of others who exist today.


  2. Sometimes you have to write the book to find out what it’s about.

    Been there — though Lileks’s wording sounds disturbingly Pelosi-esque.

  3. None of those people “created the Internet”.

    They created, if anything, mostly “the advertising model and social media”.

    (And who invited RMS to that party?)

  4. Then came 2016

    In other words, the self-proclaimed benevolent hippies were cool with all of it, so long as they were the only ones reaping the benefits, which was getting rich exploiting people’s compulsive behaviors.

    1. And no mention of 2008 or 2012, when the Obama campaign made use of Facebook’s entire social graph for their campaigns, with Facebook’s passive concurrence.

  5. I do agree that pop-ups ads have destroyed many a website. They exist today along with their spawn, autoplay videos. When I deem interest in a news event significant enough to click a website owned by a tv news station; I can barely stay at the site for longer than a minute. And forget USA Today, as I can’t even figure out how to read an article there with all the pop ups and overlays. Google’s initial success was creating a very simple website from which to start a search.

    1. The trick to reading USA Today is to wait for a hardcopy to slide under your hotel door. No pop ups. Works every time.

  6. I have some ideas to improve Internet discourse, whether in blog comment sections or elsewhere.

    One, using all-caps for emphasis is really condescending — it is like the recipient cannot detect nuance and meaning in words. It is like talking loud and slow to a non-native speaker of your language.

    Two, can everyone retire the phrases LOL or ROFL or LMAO and place them in the Smithsonian Museum of American History? No, you did not laugh out loud at another post because you found it or the commenter funny, you are expressing contempt for what someone else had to say. I don’t seem to notice its use here but on the investment site Seeking Alpha, it is getting downright annoying. Some Web denizens preface every remark offered in disagreement with “lol” — it becomes like the verbal tic “um” or “like.”

    Three, the person paying for the bandwidth (thank you Rand for your generous provision of bandwidth to engage in online back-and-forth with you) gets to be snarky. If you don’t like the snark, no one is requiring you to read let alone post a comment. If you are disagreeing with the host, you especially don’t want to snark because it is very annoying to the “regulars” at a blog and you are not changing any hearts and minds.

    People are willing to hear a well reasoned contrary opinion, and in turn, one should expect arguments offered against what you are arguing, but the only thing trollish snark does is dishearten the regulars on a blog because something they used to enjoy (a blog’s comments section) has become unpleasant. Maybe trollish snark has its place making people who disagree with you feed unhappy, and perhaps that advances your “cause”, but people are really, really not going to like you.

    1. People are willing to hear a well reasoned contrary opinion,

      This is not true. Voicing contrary opinions leads to contrary thoughts spreading. The article laments contrary views and longs for the days of ideological conformity in what people see on screens.

      By creating a self-perpetuating loop of shock and recrimination, social media further polarized what had already seemed, during the Obama years, an impossibly and irredeemably polarized country.

      Translation: People were able to speak their minds and this burst the bubble that the social elite had constructed for themselves. Not everyone agrees with them and something must be done to silence these contrary voices. Social media didn’t create polarization, it allowed the diffing views to be seen for the first time.

      Notice that people talking about how the internet is broken wont be proposing ways to make it more free but proposing ways to clamp down on freedom lest the wrong people get to enjoy it.

      1. Maybe I am speaking for myself, I am willing to hear contrary opinions on Rand’s fine site, and I have expressed such opinions myself. I am speaking to the snark of persons expressing contrary opinions that I am willing to read and consider were it not for the condescending way they are sometimes expressed.

      2. Bingo. The Internet is ‘broken’ because the left can no longer control The Narrative. Hence the Internet must be censored and badthink must be banned, so only goodthink can be spoken.

        The very last thing the modern left want to hear are contrary opinions, because they know that pretty much everything they say and believe is a lie.

        1. The modern left doesn’t need to censor — they just need to be annoying on blogs with open comment access.

  7. It’s not the Internet per se but what was layered on top. The Internet as a communication protocol is just fine. As for the stuff on top. Well, originally, it wasn’t called the World Wide Web for nothing!

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