Monday, April 09, 2007

Idle threat of the week

During a week filled with religious celebration, it's only natural to encourage peace and harmony among mankind. Which is what two Internet heavyweights -- the guy who founded Wikipedia, and the guy who coined the nebulous phrase Web 2.0 -- are attempting to do with last week's call for manners in the Wild West world of Internet web logs.

Jimmy Wales and Tim O'Reilly are mulling over a series of proposals to clean up the blogosphere, which include banning anonymous comments on blogs and requiring bloggers to pledge to get a second source for gossip items before they hit the publish button.

While the panel of judges generally frowns upon anonymous commenters, more than one of us admitted that if we are having a bad day, instead of kicking our dogs, we get on the computer and call up a website -- let's say the Huffington Post -- and read the comment section. We find that after spending a few minutes shifting through the rants of vitriol we realize, however bad things might seem in our lives, we are infinitely better off than the guy who has been reduced to deriving his pleasure from directing screeds of hatred and dismemberment, anonymously, towards public figures, bloggers and other commenters he has no chance of meeting in his physical existence.

As for the proposal to get multiple sources for gossip: Whaaaaaaa? This from the guy who "invented" Web 2.0? What's next, a proposal requiring everyone to switch back to dial up? If you want carefully sourced, legally sound gossip check out US Weekly or the National Enquirer. You may have to wait a week, but your reward will be stale information which is slightly more accurate (and still gossip) than the Internet version.

High-mindedness may work in a Quaker Elementary school or in Sweden, but it has no place in the blogosphere. Just because we are rapidly expanding, it doesn't mean a sanitized blog world wouldn't bore people and push them towards other leisure activities, such as kite flying and pornography. Then it's out of the pajamas and back into the cruel world for many of us.

But it's nothing to worry about. A regulatory body for blogs stands about the same chance of succeeding as a ski resort in Texas.

And that's why Jimmy Wales and Tim O'Reilly can add Idle Threat of the Week for April 2nd to April 8th to their impressive cyber-resumes.


Anonymous said...

you should have used as your example.


JT said...

The commenters on gawker are certainly bitter angry and nasty, but at least they are also often clever.