More on the Ignorance of Online Users

March 12, 2012

Some folks do not recall the Frenchman who toured the US. A couple of centuries ago, the notion of democracy worked out to a C average. There were some A students and some Fs. But the logic, as I understood the Frenchman, was blah. You may want to refresh your memory of Democracy in America, but may be not. There are basketball games to watch and Peyton Manning’s peregrinations to follow.

I read “Nick Denton on the “‘Tragedy of the Comments’” and thought about how “easy” search, business intelligence, and finding pizza have become. Even conference organizers take the C or average approach, preferring to use the same speaker in several different sessions. Hey, the person is an expert and it is much easier to sign up speakers if we recycle “proven performers”.

Here is a passage from the Denton item which caught my attention:

Once upon a time, in the early days of blogging, Gawker founder Nick Denton said, publishers hoped that the Web would help them “capture the intelligence of the readership.” But now? “That’s a joke,” he said. “That didn’t happen,” Denton said at South by Southwest, in a conversation with blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash. “It’s a promise that has so not happened that people don’t even have that ambition any more.” The hope was that the Internet would boost the quality of public conversation and let writers and readers collaborate on stories, but instead, he said, there’s been a “tragedy of the commons… or tragedy of the comments.”

Fascinating shift from confidence in any one creating content to a more traditional view. The idea that a poobah knows best seems to be roaring back. It is probably good to be a poobah or at least to think that one is one. Who will be the next William Hearst?

Stephen E Arnold, March 12, 2012

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