The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

Owen Byrne owen@permafrost.net
Fri, 4 Jan 2002 19:29:36 -0400


On Fri, Jan 04, 2002 at 12:43:09PM -0800, carey wrote:
> 
> >
> > 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?
> 
Shouldn't be too long before all those 404s become redirects to msn.com

> 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
> lanl.gov, 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 :)
> 
> >

While the argument unarguably becomes "more and more BS as the years go by", the
pace and the breadth of the BS progression varies widely, especially in fields 
outside CS, and is dependent on the amount of money available to you or your institution.

There was a book I read a few years ago called "Library Research Models"
(http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195081900.html)  that talked about the inferiority of computer based literature searchs versus the search
algorithms implemented in the reference section of your local library. 
One of the striking things I found was that it talked a lot about the
superiority of citation-based searching, ie using the number and value of citations
as a ranking mechanism for results. In other words, Google.  
I think the web is not even close to being  the tool of choice for 
doing research in all (or even many) fields. But the promise is there, not just as a 
new tool, but as a tool that could potentially make the other tools obsolete.

> 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.
> 
The lag seems to me part of the process. Researchers don't read books, they read
journals. Books come after the letters to the editor, revisions, corrections, fistfights,
etc.

> >
> >  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.
> >
> > 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'...
> 
Doing research on the DMCA strikes me as like trying to do research on open source
a year ago. If you actually published something, you run the serious risk of
looking like a twit a year later. Its still news, and any research you do is really
about a. the text of the DMCA or b. what other people say about it (not very 
rigorous). Course it all depends on what you mean by research. To me the interesting
stuff isn't available for a few years, and that is the effects of the DMCA.

> 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.
> 
Maybe a few years from now you'll see a book on amazon about DeCSS and say "Nahh, old news".
Or maybe not. Right now it isn't possible to say.

> >
> > 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.
> 
> MORE CONTENT, DAMNIT.
> 

Can't see it. Maybe the cat pages, but fluffy shit about Britney Spears is where the 
money is. What needs to be done is to preserve room (figuratively) for cat pages, and 
both homemade and corporate Britney Spears pages, scholarly research and content of
all kinds to coexist on the web, without any of them drowning out any of the others. 

And you know, things have been pretty good that way so far as compared to books, tv. 
The challenge is to scale that success and absorb good offline practices (Google) more
 often than bad offline practices (spam). 

Its like we're building the Borg. Its not the technology, its not the human behaviour,
its the integration of the technology and the human behaviour thats the real challenge.

hmmm... OpenBorg.com?
shit... already registered.
Owen