Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Too many editors

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:10/28/1999; 5:23:19 AM
Msg #:12450 (In response to 12448)
Prev/Next:12449 / 12451

Here's another problem I have with the DG.

Too many editors.

I left Wired because they were always second-guessing what I was writing. They did it in a nice way, they said "Dave, everyone needs an editor." I was puzzled by this. At 39 at the time, I had made it that far without any editors. I didn't think they were right. Need? No way.

The reason I left is that I found myself writing stuff to make it sail thru the editing process unchanged. Instead of loving to write, I ended up hating it. To me writing is a freeing thing. I remember the exhiliation I felt sending out Bill Gates vs the Internet and Platform is Chinese Household. I thought, each time, that a wall of bricks was going to come down on me. I learned that the opposite happens, when you show vulnerability in an good way, the goodness of other people kicks in. Even Bill Gates just wanted to be heard, even him. I think we're all that way, trying to be heard, our true selves, not the jerk so many people think we are.

I think Bill got caught flat-footed here. At the Agenda 95 conference in September, I was surprised to hear him say that Microsoft's upcoming online service, Marvel, is a bet-the-company venture for the company. Now I think he's right. Bill is scrambling, he understands the stakes, and is doing the only reasonable thing he can do. The stakes are huge for him at a personal level: is he the next Ken Olson? Will Marvel be the DEC Rainbow of online systems???

But instead of exhiliration, as the editors creeped into my writing, I would have huge *fear* when I read the final copy on the HotWired website. How did they change my writing this time? They would change the meaning of my words, sometimes flipping it around 180 degrees. There were times when I wanted to write a Letter to the Editor telling the author to get a fucking clue, and I was the author, at least according to the byline.

So I quit.

Now, when I post a message here, I keep wondering what idiot is going to "prove" me wrong or corrupt or stupid. I edit my pieces while I'm writing with this in mind. It has become overwhelming. Again, I want to quit.

I think in both cases it's about control, a very un-weblike thing. At Wired they wanted to assure some kind of uniformity, they thought of it as "quality", but I didn't like it. I am not that uniform. The things I like best about myself are fairly unique to me. I have fun when I'm being myself, and I get very tired when I worry.

Frankly, there's no reason you can't post your complaints or worries to *your* website instead of mine. The only reason to post them here is because this is where I write. I need to think about another structure that allows comments but assures they're not reckless or inane. The Mail Pages worked. Maybe all I need is an Approve button? It's a possibility.

(And to free speech advocates, take it elsewhere. Like GeoCities or eGroups, or go ahead and startup up Have fun! Express yourself.)

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