Why the Web is Starting to Suck: Online Collectivism

I have spent more than 40 hours per week online since 1998. In the past year or two, I've noticed that something about the web experience is really starting to suck but have not been able to figure out what it is. Computer scientist Jaron Lanier has isolated one reason in his essay DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism. Lanier attacks the trend toward collective editing and publishing of content not only online. Here are some interesting quotes from the article:

No, the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force.

And this gem:

The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?

It's an interesting and thought-provoking piece. If you like me have had a vague sense that the web is starting to suck then take the time to read this article.

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