Nothing Worth Saying
At this point, the creepy, mysterious small town could be its own genre on TV. Seems like there's a new series like that coming on every year. Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow, Between... yeah, I'm over it. So when my wife wanted to watch Wayward Pines, I was tired of the show before it started. Still, this one turned out to be a little different. A nice little twist in the fifth episode got my attention for good, and now I'm actually enjoying the show.

But enough about that, I'm actually here to talk about a different kind of drama.

Specifically, the Reddit kind. I'm sure by now those of you familiar with the site have heard about the resignation of interim CEO Ellen Pao from the company. You can find the details on pretty much any news site, but the basic story is a familiar one: a male-dominated portion of the internet decided to put some uppity woman in her place for daring to change the status quo. Yeah, there were some legitimate gripes, like the sudden firing of the AMA liaison and lack of moderator tools to deal with brigading, but by then Pao was already being buried under a mountain of community-created fecal matter.

I do want to bring up one article, written on The Daily Beast, which not only covers the situation fairly well, but brings up another issue--that "Web 2.0", which is when the internet changed from mere web pages to interactive content (aka comments), is a commercial failure. Sure, people spend more time on your site when they can type some crap on the bottom of every article, but attempting to monetize this engagement seems to always inevitably lead to disaster.

What seems to always happen is that eventually someone will say something that the corporate types won't like. Then, that content will be removed. Suddenly, you've got a mob shouting about censorship and free speech and whatever else can be said in an animated GIF.

The whole concept of free speech is supposed to be a bit more meaningful; it's the idea that one has the right to be heard without fear of censure or retribution from the state or government. When it's still a crime to be openly gay in some places, that kind of free speech is vitally important.

However, the #FirstWorldProblems version of free speech is just the so-called right to say a bunch of hateful shit and not have to suffer any consequences for it. Apparently this so-called right is far more important than things like harassment or common decency, since as soon as you try to restrict the hateful shit, the users of your website revolt and depart.

I don't think it's much of a stretch to say the comment-driven web has been a joke so far. While Youtube comments are infamous for their vile and stupidity, it's hard to think of any decent-sized website that's any better as far as comments are concerned. More sites are starting to realize this and turn them off completely, The Verge being the latest convert. The lesson being learned is that commenters don't seem to care as much about interacting with or contributing to a site as they care about being seen. In order to be seen, all you need is a username and a few snide words.

You know what, if the internet decided to revert back to Web 1.0, nothing of value would be lost.
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"sekani" wrote:
if the internet decided to revert back to Web 1.0, nothing of value would be lost.

On that very point, here's a fact of limited interest - itself is 100% navigable and usable with Javascript blocked, a claim which cannot be made truthfully for a lot of modern sites. It's slightly less convenient of course, navigating page-by-page one step at a time, but nothing obstructive.

Search features were probably the first to cease functioning without Javascript, followed by site navigation, and I've now seen some sites which rely on it to load their CSS properly.