I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The failed promise of the Internet

The website about a book titled "The Future of Ideas," by Lawrence Lessig, says,
The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. What was responsible for its birth? Who is responsible for its demise?

In "The Future of Ideas," Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced a counterrevolution of devastating power and effect . . . . .

Internet’s very design built a neutral platform upon which the widest range of creators could experiment. The legal architecture surrounding it protected this free space so that culture and information – the ideas of our era – could flow freely and inspire an unprecedented breadth of expression. But this structural design is changing – both legally and technically.

This shift will destroy the opportunities for creativity and innovation that the Internet originally engendered. The cultural dinosaurs of our recent past are moving to quickly remake cyberspace so that they can better protect their interests against the future. Powerful conglomerates are swiftly using both law and technology to "tame" the Internet, transforming it from an open forum for ideas into nothing more than cable television on speed. Innovation, once again, will be directed from the top down, increasingly controlled by owners of the networks, holders of the largest patent portfolios, and, most invidiously, hoarders of copyrights.

The choice Lawrence Lessig presents is not between progress and the status quo. It is between progress and a new Dark Ages, in which our capacity to create is confined by an architecture of control and a society more perfectly monitored and filtered than any before in history. Important avenues of thought and free expression will increasingly be closed off. The door to a future of ideas is being shut just as technology makes an extraordinary future possible. (emphasis added)

The above description of the book does not mention one of the biggest barriers to the free interchange of ideas on the Internet: the arbitrary censorship* of visitors' comments and contributions on blogs and other websites, notably Wikipedia. However, the above description of the book is highly applicable to that arbitrary censorship. Also, the description mentions "cultural dinosaurs of our recent past" but does not mention the new dinosaurs that have arisen on the Internet itself, e.g., Wikipedia and big, popular blogs that arbitrarily censor visitors' comments, but the book was published in 2001, well before Wikipedia and most of those big, popular blogs appeared.

* No, ViU, Hector, and assorted other trolls -- deleting comments such as the following is not arbitrary censorship: (1) gossip about my private affairs; (2) saying that I misunderstood something without giving another interpretation; and (3) clearcut lying about objective facts, e.g., saying that a news article said that Judge Jones said that he would follow the law in making his decision, when the news article actually said that Jones said that the results of the school board election would not affect his decision.
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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a single primary reason that the internet has become a nightmare. It is because it allows anonynous commentary. Imagine a scientific literature with such a basis. That is why I always respond to anonymous users by appending "whoever that is" to their cowardly aliases. That is also a primary reason my weblog remains unpopular. A person who must use an alias is obviously one who has never contributed anything of substance in his entire life. If aliases were suddenly forbidden, internet dialogue would instantly improve, an unlikely prospect. In its present state the world wide web is largely an outlet where unfulfilled, neurotic, intellectual trash vent their degenerate spleens to their precious heart's content, secure that no one will ever be certain of their real identity as mental midgets and "prescribed" second rate losers.

I love it so!

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
John A. Davison

john.a.davison.free.fr/

Monday, June 02, 2008 3:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonynous said...

< There is a single primary reason that the internet has become a nightmare. It is because it allows anonynous commentary. ... I love it so! >

You're weird.

Monday, June 02, 2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

I ordinarily comment under my real name. Sometimes I do use a pseudonym, such as "Darwin B. Leaver," to satirize the Darwin-fans: but then I identify myself in the comment as "Leaver's ghostwriter, Jim Sherwood." So I never comment in a really anonymous manner.

And, clueless Darwin-fans all think that anyone who doesn't swallow their dogmas is "weird."

Monday, June 02, 2008 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Requiring real-sounding names would not solve the problem of trolls. Some trolls post under their real names. Some use real-sounding names that are not their own names. And sometimes a real name sounds like a nickname or pseudonym -- e.g., States Rights Gist was the real name of a Confederate general.

Monday, June 02, 2008 7:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry

Real identification is no problem. We would use the same criterion that is used in the real world. A biographical sketch with a list of publications. Those with no credentials should be identified and their comments considered accordingly.

I reject the usual excuses about protecting ones identity. That is a cowardly cop out. A person who cannot put his real name to his comments should be treated with the utmost contempt. When identities are verifiable, as they most certainly are in the real world, forum traffic will be reduced by an order of magnitude. Until and unless this happens, it will continue largely to be therapy for unfulfilled intellectual trash.

john.a.davison.free.fr/

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
John A. Davison

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 2:49:00 AM  

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