January 6, 2007

I am a blogger Luddite

Though time will march on and the little hamsters that turn our hard drives will keep running and the fluid network of the intertubes will keep expanding, I am firmly against any further progress of the world wide web. Blogger offered their beta and after much deliberation, I switched to it. And though I have no reason other than suspicion of the new technology driving it, I wish I hadn't.

I am very happy with the internet as it is and I'm afraid that continued enhancements and "improvements" will result in a world in which our children have no appreciation of how difficult communication actually used to be, both in terms of transmitting it (does anybody here remember paper, pen, and the US Postal Service?) and of obtaining it (when was the last time you cracked the spine on a volume of an encyclopedia?); or how difficult communication actually IS: English is becoming an aglutinated language and, even worse, we now compact the Queen's English down to leetspeak in a self-generated version of Newspeak (no Ingsoc needed!) and we are forced to tack on emoticons because we've become so unable to express ourselves with words only!

At least I could TRUST the old encyclopedia - information on the Web is about as trustworthy as our current president. Sure, the information isn't outright blatant lies - it's just misleading, inaccurate, and imprecise. Information has become rotten in this big apple-barrel of connected databased. What is needed is some sort of certifying agency; some way of stamping the information as trustworthy, much as financial sites can provide a certificate for you and your browswer to trust. Of course, nobody would look at the Truth Verification Statements (my term) either.

It may be ironic, you say, that having railed against the unreliability of information on the web, that I link to a Wikipedia article on Newspeak. Not so. What I'm railing against are the webpages full of bad information compiled by a single researcher who, more often than not, is a hobbyist webmaster, not an actual, qualified, experienced researcher. Wikis, on the other hand, are an interesting diversion from this trend, as the idea is that given a large audience, all of whom can use, monitor, and correct the body of knowledge, the database gets simultaneously richer in detail and increasingly error-free. An unacknowledged quality of Wikipedia is that the longer it is, the more likely it is trustworthy information.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Progress is necessary and will happen no matter what. Hopefully it will be good progress. That is all you can ask for.