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

Re: Only on the web

Author:Brian Carnell
Posted:12/12/1999; 8:12:36 PM
Topic:Participatory democracy
Msg #:13592 (In response to 13589)
Prev/Next:13591 / 13593

"This is interesting. An immediate shortcoming that I have noticed is that people tend to stay with like-minded people (see slashdot) and not stray too far from their point of view. Also, you can never tell (really well) if the people you want to read your comments actually do - it's pretty easy for anyone to (conveniently) ignore others' POV."

It is, for example, fascinating that groups opposed to free trade such as the Independent Media Center (which you link to which is why I bring it up) don't even see the delicious irony of using the Internet and sailing right by the normal nation state regulations on media penetration.

But to stick to the topic, one of the more obvious shortcomings of the web is the inability to conveniently reference alternative points of view. Although it is much easier to do so on a web page that in real life, it is still clunky.

A common thing I find for example, is people on a DG discussing a DG on my web site and so far there is no convenient way to bridge that discussion between the two separate DGs even where people from both sides would like to do so.

Also there is still no effective solution to finding the other side on the web. I will go through my server logs on a weekly basis and find sites linking to mine in order to criticize it that are awesome but that I never would have known about otherwise.

One of the ways I have tried to obviate this problem is by openly welcoming those most opposed to my views. I assumed (naively) that this was the case on most areas, but was amazed at how many web sites had DGs where they promptly deleted DG posts that didn't agree with the views of the person or group running the site. (In fact I'm still amazed at the significnant contingent of people who refuse to include DGs or even simple guestbooks on their web site specifically in order to avoid critical comments).

I think people who just want to sit around and talk exclusively to those who already agree with them sort of miss the entire point (or perhaps more accurately the possibility) of the Internet.

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