Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Our Walled Gardens

By MrAndrews in Culture
Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 09:44:47 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

We're all very smart people. Some of us write operating systems, others perform beautiful ballads, some design genius web apps and others are the Shakespeares of the blogging world. Across huge distances, we co-ordinate and socialize with others just like us, and hone our craft with people we know will appreciate what we are. We've built brilliant and immersive walled gardens, and in them we'll wither away in comfortable obscurity.

As diverse as it is, we all share a common culture on the internet. Experiment, open, free, extend, share ... the notion behind Linux, Creative Commons, deviantART or Usenet is always the same: the more we put out there, the faster we'll touch on that special genius we couldn't reach alone. If information wants to be free, its rationale must be that it wants to better itself in the wild, rather than be chained to an arranged marriage between its creator and the almighty buck. We all feel it on some level, I think, and we are both impressed and upset when some company manages to turn that notion into a revenue stream. They "get it", we know, but isn't it almost a betrayal of our unspoken ethics?

Outside our walled gardens are maybe a dozen pristine roads, connecting our gardens to a factories in the valley below, where they turn out our ideas in perfect wrappings. The factories are run by companies who have learned the valuable truth to the internet: if you pair passion with process, you can be both efficient and great. We're scratching the itch for thousands or millions of people around the world, and somehow we're only peripherally aware that it's happening. Maybe the walls to our gardens are too high, or maybe we're just not comfortable devising roads of our own. But maybe it's time we tried.

We are not a counter-culture, and we are not a hobbyist culture. We don't believe Linux or Apache are frivolous wastes of time, so why do we think of bloggers as would-be pundits? The reason we don't have music superstars in the league of the Beatles or JLo is not for lack of talent, it's because we don't take ourselves seriously enough to promote them that way. Our writing is more poetic than any printed book, our programs push the boundaries of software, and Diggnation is a far better tech show than anything you'll find on satellite or cable. We have all the makings of a superculture, so why do we look for validation in the offline world?

We need to make our own roads outside the gardens. We need to define, create and implement an architecture to enhance our own culture, and to package it for ourselves first. But we need to do it in a way that stays true to our open source ethics. We always preach open standards, so let's get our hands dirty. Let's make an economy that only the internet could sustain. We need to define the mechanics, draft the standards, and put it in our software. It needs to be as automatic for us as copyright is for the offline world. The design of this system cannot come out of a government or a corporation, because it cannot be censorable or made for the benefit of shareholders. This is an economic model for the creators, by the creators.

We need to learn more about each other. We're a people of limitless diversity, but we don't exploit it. Not enough enough podcasters know where to find free/libre music; not enough writers know their mentors are so close by; not enough artists have heard of the GIMP; too many programmers are scratching the same itch, thinking there's nothing else that needs to be done. Despite all our tools and all our connectivity, we can't grasp collaboration outside our own circle. We need to create a common language so our communities can talk to each other as easily as they talk amongst themselves. What good is the bazaar if everyone sells the same thing? We need to put windows in our walled gardens.

We need to stop being starstruck by the offline world. We need to stop believing that a lucky few will graduate from our world to Hollywood, and that everything we enjoy now is just an amateur trial run. We need to create our own brands, our own stars, and we need to do it for ourselves, on our own terms. Let me build my evening news out of a series of stories pulled from WikiNews, Kevin Rose and Xeni Jardin. Show me the Regis Philbin of the internet world, a 7-minute daily soap, the Top 10 at 10. We don't need NBC to promote us, we need to promote ourselves. We have the licenses, we have the technology, but we need the will. Pull the brightest minds together and make a network, where the timeslots are unlimited and innovation is embraced.

We need to pay attention to our MetaWeb. There is a huge area of online culture we've been too scared to traverse, but it needs to be explored and defined just like anything else. It is time to lay claim to the space between the gardens, and make the factories our serfs, instead of our masters. Some will say that this is too much, too expensive, too difficult to attempt. Look at Linux, think of its history, and ask yourself which is more unlikely. We've made mountains from pebbles; climbing one should be easy.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Linux
o Creative Commons
o deviantART
o Usenet
o Diggnation
o the GIMP
o WikiNews
o Kevin Rose
o Xeni Jardin
o Also by MrAndrews

Display: Sort:
Our Walled Gardens | 102 comments (79 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
In the 5 years I've been here (2.16 / 6) (#1)
by psychologist on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 04:32:01 PM EST

This is the best essay I've ever read. And trust me, I'm the guy who was saying localroger sucked long before it was cool to say so.

Hack the planet? nt (none / 1) (#4)
by Ig0r on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 05:45:30 PM EST

Heh, right (2.75 / 8) (#12)
by Morkney on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 09:00:20 PM EST

Our writing is more poetic than any printed book...
Yeah. Some linux nerd's weblog is far superior to Shakespeare. Your essay blows Emerson's frail attempts out of the water. If you're tired of hacks like Sylvia Plath and TS Eliot, just fire up a web-browser and head over to livejournal dot com.

True (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by MrAndrews on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 09:49:37 PM EST

Not any printed book, but we still live with this notion that any good writing must be in print. For the sentence, "most" is probably more accurate than "any", but it ruins the flow, I think.

If Dorothy Parker'd had a blog, would we still call her great? A livejournal address does not indicate fluff, and bound pieces of paper don't guarantee quality.

[ Parent ]
I know several good writers with blogs (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by MrHanky on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:13:53 AM EST

But their best writing is published elsewhere. Not that their blogs are bad, but they aren't really that great either. Perhaps that since you can put anything up on a blog, you don't really care too much about what you put on it. After all, it's usually written for a few friends.

I've also come across several blogs where the writer obviously is without any sense of grammar, punctuation, spelling or style, and those seem to be in the majority. Recommending blogs in general for good reading, is like recommending the sewers as a good place to look for diamonds. I'm sure that given a lot of time, you have a chance of finding some, but what's certain is that you have to swim through a sea of shit.

"This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
[ Parent ]

But it's no different than books (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:28:28 AM EST

I'm sure that given a lot of time, you have a chance of finding some, but what's certain is that you have to swim through a sea of shit.

There are so many books published that are absolute garbage it's nearly impossible to walk into a bookstore without being overcome with the stench of mediocrity. It's almost worse than bad grammar sometimes, because even the thoughts behind the words are poorly-formed. And you have this despite the fact that there are supposedly gatekeepers editing the junk they put out.

There are book reviewers out there who specialize in sorting through the sea of shit to bring you those diamonds. It's their function. I've talked to book reviewers, movie reviewers... they won't touch online media because it's its own "genre", and not worth the effort. An online novel isn't a real novel until it's printed and sold from Amazon.

We trust our self-image to people who consciously belittle us (or promote us mindlessly). I would say it's time we started ranking our own creations on our own terms.

[ Parent ]
Yup (none / 0) (#47)
by jeremyn on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 03:47:24 AM EST

Unless a book gets reviewed in the New York Times and its good points are emphasized with quote-marks, it's not worth reading.

[ Parent ]
We're actually all gibbering idiots. (2.71 / 7) (#15)
by catastrophe on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 10:54:46 PM EST

With that in mind, reconsider the rest of what you say.

Hmm... (1.50 / 2) (#16)
by MrAndrews on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 11:10:36 PM EST

So your argument is that we're at the same level as Hollywood, rather than superior to it...

I may have to think on this a bit.

[ Parent ]
Wrong. (3.00 / 4) (#26)
by your_desired_username on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 10:02:31 AM EST

Even gibbering idiots are smarter than Hollywood.

[ Parent ]
I humbly volunteer my services (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by LilDebbie on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:20:47 AM EST

as the Internet's first fucked-up celebrity to gape at and be glad they're lives are not like mine. That is, the Paris Hilton of the Internet.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

plz post hi-rez sex tape thx [nt] (2.75 / 8) (#31)
by rusty on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:04:37 AM EST

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
no. plz plz DON'T. k-thx-bye. (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by CodeWright on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 09:02:56 AM EST

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (1.00 / 2) (#83)
by vera on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 09:36:45 AM EST

Some professionalism, please.

[ Parent ]
internet culture is nascent (2.75 / 8) (#18)
by insomnyuk on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 03:18:03 AM EST

There is no such thing as 'high culture' on the internet like there has been and is in literature, music, theater, and more recently film.

Diggnation is kind of funny but like, who cares? They talk about shit that I already read online the day before.

Xeni Jardin and the whole Boing Boing thing, you're actually promoting that as an example of culture? Please. Whatever.

And dude, please, the proper nomenclature is GNU/Linux.

GIMP has plenty of features but is a complete bitch to use compared to Photoshop, Fireworks, JASC PaintShop Pro, or fucking Microsoft Image Composer designed for Windows 98 (yeah, it came bundled with FrontPage 98, so?).  And all those news sites you linked to are still getting the vast majority of their news from the AP or Reuters news wires.

This is all masturbatory anyway, this whole digital culture thing has an inflated importance due to the ability of bloggers and web designers to influence their pageranks. Remember that tens of millions use msn.com as their homepage because they don't even have a fucking idea what a homepage is but it's default for Internet Explorer. The writing is on the wall, man. You know, even with iTunes, the top selling music is usually quite similar to the Top 40. The internet hasn't changed mass culture. Maybe one day, but you have to be able to replace it with something. Right now I don't see anything that can compete with the production values of professional corporations that are in music, tv, movie, radio, and book publishing.

Also, podcasting sucks (just had to mention it because it bears repeating).

"There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness." - H.L. Mencken

Different internet culture (none / 1) (#19)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 04:10:37 AM EST

The question is not whether our culture is influencing the Top 40, it's whether we should put so much stock in how we fare in the Top 40 at all.  Where is our own Top 40?  Why is it only big news when an internet artist gets signed to a major label?  Our culture isn't nascent, it's thriving; we're just catching glimpses of it through what the offline world lets us see.  Why aren't we trying to see it for ourselves?

You're waiting for the New York Times to tell you that your favourite blogger is a great writer.  If only Boing Boing told you so, why is it any less valid?

(I'm going to leave it as just "Linux", because the "GNU/" would, I think, throw some people off at exactly the wrong time.  Thanks, though)

[ Parent ]

heh ok (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by insomnyuk on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 04:20:49 AM EST

The GNU bit was just a poorly disguised troll

I meant nascent as in 'emerging' - it is hard to define what really is culture online or offline, the lines are so blurred, things are moving so quickly, I don't think our terms necessarily conflict on that point.

I think your point about how culture is ranked is a valid one (I despise the Top 40), and no, I don't go to the NYT as an authority on internet culture, but my point as I did not quite clearly put it is that much of this stuff you point to is a rehash of pre-existing content and information.

If anything, the internet is making already existing culture more accessible.

"There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness." - H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

ok to your ok (none / 0) (#33)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:15:04 AM EST

If anything, the internet is making already existing culture more accessible.

Too true. I doubt the internet culture will be too much more than a new spin on old ideas (except for some cutting-edge artists who think far outside the box)... but I think we have the advantage of our freedom of access. We've got hundreds of millions of monkeys at those typewriters, so we've got to be turning out greatness faster than I think we know.

The symptom for me is how my nightly news covers file sharing or GTA. They'll stack their expert guests with people who all miss the fundamental points I read all over the web, and come to wrong conclusions based on incomplete analysis. It's not representative of my beliefs (in fact it usually belittles my beliefs), but it's my only choice for news. But why is it my only choice for news? Can't we do better?

I guess I'm saying this: all information, creative or factual, is unoriginal and has its roots in some ethereal plane. It's like we're reading about the happenings in Baton Rouge via the XinJiang news service.

[ Parent ]
Re: The need to turn out greatness (none / 1) (#93)
by Moochman on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 09:50:37 AM EST

I don't know about our "need to turn out greatness". Replace turn with "churn," and it sounds suspiciously like the pressure that the mainstream media exerts on genius to make the monkeys dance, even when they don't feel inspired. This is what happens to most musicians/bands after their first, truly inspired album becomes a hit and they are forced to put out a sequel--it's sucky or bland because it's not inspired the same way. And I would argue that this is a product of fame in general; I doubt any degree of counter-culture-ness will change it.

Still, I take your point that we need get off our collective asses and explore the technology that's at our fingertips. But first the avenues of free information sharing sharing need to be more accessible to the non-computer-geeks, because oftentimes they are the ones with the most brilliant artistic inspirations and insights. While I like techy and/or hyper-intellectual banter as much as the next person, I think there's plenty of talent, artistic and otherwise, that's going to be underrepresented in this new underground cultural utopia of yours by virtue of the technical barriers that still exit. And while it's true that computer-smarts may generally correlate to overall intelligence, it doesn't take much more than a visit to Slashdot to realize that not all self-proclaimed geniuses are worth listening to.

[ Parent ]

Know what I hate too? Liberal arts pansys (1.88 / 9) (#24)
by tweetsybefore on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 07:06:22 AM EST

who try to tell everyone what to do. Go to hell. We don't need managers or leaders telling us how to do things. If we want to masturbate and look at porn, we will do it. We don't give a shit about what you think.

I'm racist and I hate niggers.
Most libertarians aren't hermits (none / 1) (#30)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:04:11 AM EST

and most non-liberal pansies don't believe you're better off living in a compound, away from the thoughts and influences of the rest of the world. We don't need some central authority controlling our thoughts, we need a common language that lets us expand our horizons. The goal is HTTP, not ICANN.

[ Parent ]
You are all hot air and talk. (none / 1) (#36)
by tweetsybefore on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:34:43 AM EST

you don't know a thing. shut up, or do something. Don't tell other people what to do.

I'm racist and I hate niggers.
[ Parent ]
Hate is a waste of energy (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by MrMikey on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 03:48:50 AM EST

For someone who seems to have their shorts in a knot over someone else expressing ideas (or, as you put it, "telling everyone what to do"), you don't seem to have any problems telling someone to "shut up", or proclaiming what "we" do or do not give a shit about. Kind of hypocritical, don't you think?

I'm interested in what this article had to say. Obviously, you were too, at least enough to respond... though perhaps you were just bored, or needed an outlet for your frustrations about something else... who can say. Others had responses as well.

Maybe by "we", you really meant only "I"?

[ Parent ]

i really like your writing style (2.50 / 12) (#25)
by fleece on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 09:04:20 AM EST

but the content is utter, utter shit.

I think what i hate the most though is the liberal use of the word "we", when it's clear from reading it that you and i have nothing in common.

You also believe that people participating in online communities, or at least this one, are intelligent. I'd argue that the evidence to support that is quite weak: thousands upon thousands of users at K5 for example, and how many strike you as being very smart? A very tiny percentage even if you set the bar at knee height.

"A common culture on the internet", you say. Har. Har har. har. That's like saying television watchers share a common culture. Arguably yes, but not the culture you wax lyrical about. More like a lowest common denominator culture, like all the noobs that crawled out of the woodwork to complain about the fuck natalee holloway piece..

I couldn't be bothered going on but the rest assured I thought the rest was shit also.

I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
Consumers vs creators (2.50 / 4) (#28)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 10:56:59 AM EST

"A common culture on the internet", you say. Har. Har har. har. That's like saying television watchers share a common culture. Arguably yes, but not the culture you wax lyrical about.

That's probably the big difference, though. TV watchers munch their potato chips and laugh to each other (or to themselves) about how stupid that last singer was on American Idol. Internet users write flame after flame in the official messageboards, or vent their frustrations in their blog. There is a culture here. It's a creator culture.

I think you and I have quite a lot in common, but I've probably phrased this piece a bit too liberal-pansy-ass for you to see it. Thanks for the comments, though!

[ Parent ]
Not enough creators (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by Arkaein on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 01:09:31 PM EST

TV watchers munch their potato chips and laugh to each other (or to themselves) about how stupid that last singer was on American Idol. Internet users write flame after flame in the official message boards, or vent their frustrations in their blog.

Some internet users do these things, but I suspect they are still in the vast minority. Most people I would guess do not write articles for K5, have blogs, or engage in much discussion. And of those that do, much (most?) of it is utter crap. Honestly, K5 is not exactly a shining beacon of excellent discussion with it's large amount of trolling, but most message board posts makes the average K5 troll look like Renaissance art.

I think the Internet is a bit like the French Revolution (note: numbers to follow remembered from high school history 10 years ago, don't take as exact figures). It's taking the power to publish from the "aristocracy" (about 3% of the population then, maybe 1% now) and putting it in the hands of the "bourgeois classes" (about 15% then, probably only about 5% now who actually produce any meaningful content). Most everyone else is just a passive observer, just like with television.

As you point out the technology is there but the will isn't. For most people the will has never been there, and likely never will be. We should be glad though that those with the will now have a new medium of expression that can benefit creators and consumers alike.

The ultimate plays for Madden 2006
[ Parent ]

Maybe he can start blogging. (none / 1) (#90)
by Chewbacca Uncircumsized on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 10:09:47 PM EST

I did and blew the lid open on my neighbor who was dumping used oil in the creek!

[ Parent ]
Is that you werner ? (none / 1) (#27)
by minerboy on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 10:56:39 AM EST

EST hasn't quite panned out, eh ?

+1 FP, and I'm fairly apalled.. (1.20 / 5) (#37)
by nostalgiphile on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:13:10 PM EST

At the reaction to this very fine piece of writing by these noob fuckwads.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
what internet culture needs (1.80 / 10) (#38)
by army of phred on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 03:53:55 PM EST

I've said this many times but I'll repeat once again, this general purpose net connection stack tcp/ip has to go. In its place a large defined set of protocols can allow broadcast style networking for the internet savvy consumer, and if Microsoft had the lead in engineering this, you can be sure that most computers would be compatible, and Microsoft could also sell "Microsoft Gateway" products to let Apple participate.

This set of protocols could allow trusted machines to receive properly licensed and authorized content but still filter out other less useful but more dangerous content/extentions like exe's, zips, tar.gz's, bz2, py, and iso's, and additionally any encrypted content, and the major webserver venders would have to outlaw application/octet mime types to regain control of the internet-turned-piracy haven that the thieves like warez groups and gnu have perverted, not to mention all the pornography and child molesting an open internet produces.

Its time to make the net safe again for our families and businesses.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber

It sounds like you're advocating (2.33 / 3) (#63)
by MrMikey on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 03:38:39 AM EST

a DRM hell where Microsoft and the American Family Association decide what software you can run, and what content you can see. No thanks. This would be the equivalent of locking up all the printing presses so only "safe" text would be allowed.

I don't want "safe"... I want free. I'll take responsibility for my own "safety", and, when I have children, it will be my responsibility to decide what content they can or cannot see, not anyone else's... and I'm damned well not going to limit what everyone else can see, hear or say just in case an unsupervised child should come across it.

[ Parent ]

Too idyllic (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by kelbear on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 04:20:35 PM EST

This will be a future course of the internet, but it will not be an internet community that assumes this integration. It will instead be "the community" at large as technology flows more and more into the mainstream until not being a part of "the internet" is unthinkable.

It won't be a bunch of internet folk holding hands that will create this integration, it'll just be the regular joes of the world who just happen to get on the internet and meet. It'll be a passive unification rather than an active one.

There is too much "we" being mentioned, when the reality is that it consists of a large amounts of coinciding "I"s that come to correspond without any active center of direction. It's similar to how Ants always endeavor to find the most efficient path to an objective, it's done with each user acting of his/her own volition and being redirected by other individuals influencing them. There's no single mind directing the ants, but each of them bumping into each other eventually breaks down into a streamed path for all of them.
*I am dead, leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.*

I like the walls, the world is scary. (3.00 / 4) (#40)
by artis on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 04:54:12 PM EST

Nothing stops you from wandering between the gardens -- spreading the word and cross pollinating the plants. I don't want to wake up one morning and find that the walls are gone and it's the same everywhere, no matter how beautiful it is.
Can you know that you are omniscient?
Very good point (2.00 / 2) (#44)
by MrAndrews on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 10:40:17 PM EST

This is probably the best concern I've seen raised about what I wrote. If you pool the collective culture too much, the dominant forces in each subgroup will come to dominate over the whole, essentially crushing minority views. I don't actually think it COULD crush it completely (even if it tried), but that's definitely a problem with the idea. Excellent point there.

[ Parent ]
Sir, you are quite wrong, (2.60 / 5) (#42)
by AlwaysAnonymized on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 07:31:07 PM EST

The Internet is for porn.

MySpace.com (2.88 / 9) (#43)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 08:10:57 PM EST

Myspace.com is a perfect example of what happens when you 'take the walls down' You get crap.

Consider: In real life, I am considered a good writer. On the internet, well, not so much.

We have standards. Please, let us keep it that way.

Crap Is Good (none / 1) (#77)
by skavookie on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:47:52 PM EST

...because sometimes you find that someone has swallowed a diamond.

[ Parent ]
[BSP] Promote this: (1.33 / 3) (#46)
by mberteig on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 12:23:57 AM EST

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile

Does anyone remember the Fitness Canada jingle: "Don't just think about it... do it! do it! do it!"


BTW, this article is just asking for this sort of response.

FWIW, I'm running Moveable Type on OpenBSD.  I also run a server with FreeBSD.  On my desktops, I run WinBlows, but 98% of my software is open-source or freeware (the exceptions being Dreamweaver, and a few games).  I like OSS, I don't think its a waste of time, nor do I think blogging is a waste of time.  I'm not a would-be pundit, I'm a professional who blogs on his own time... partly to promote myself, but also to share some things that I think might actually be helpful to other people: insights, stories, experiences, etc. that relate to working more effectively and with more satisfaction.

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile

Promote this: (1.75 / 4) (#67)
by Harvey Anderson on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 09:29:52 AM EST

Dork dork dork dork

I have something to say, mommy: "Don't just think about it... do it! do it! do it!" GIVE ME LOLLY KTHX

:-) dorkdorkdorkdork

FWIW, I'm running dork stuff on dork OSs. I also run a dork machine with FreeDORK. On my desktops, I run WinBlows (hahaha that is sooo cute!), but 98% of my software is worthless (the exceptions being Dreamwaver, and a few dork pasttimes). I like to feel important and pretend that other people care about what I have to say. I know I'm a dork at heart, but I'm a businessman, so that makes me sort of like better, I guess... mostly because I'm an attention-monger, mommy, and I like to fancy myself important, somehow. It's too bad I have Aspergers and am gay.

[ Parent ]

Don't you mean long-haired smelleys? [n/t] (none / 0) (#78)
by skavookie on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:50:31 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Gross! (n/t!)! (none / 0) (#84)
by Harvey Anderson on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 10:10:49 AM EST

[ Parent ]
It's not a jingle - it's the Pink Fairies song (none / 0) (#89)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 09:06:28 PM EST

also covered by Henry Rollins.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
by I Mod Everything Up But Kitten on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 09:01:03 AM EST


-1 "Information wants to be free" (none / 1) (#52)
by Mekanik on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 04:25:08 PM EST

We need to stop this meme. 1. Stop anthropomorphizing software. 2. Stop taking the quote out of context.

not anthropomorphizing software... (none / 1) (#54)
by MrAndrews on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 05:21:06 PM EST

... information in general.  I agree, as a slogan for stingy filesharers, it's a copout, and a a bad one at that.  But I think there's a strong truth behind the concept despite that.  Well, perhaps better phrased as: "Information tends to flow freely in an online environment", but if I wrote that, it'd be less exciting, and people'd just point out I was re-stating "information wants to be free".

My take on it is this: if you want to be 100% sure your computer won't get a virus, don't connect it to a network at all.  If you don't want your information to spread across the entire globe, don't put it on the network.  Information, when copyable through computers, is unrestrainable.

I was anthropomorphizing the concept for dramatic effect, sure, but I don't think it's necessarily invalid just because it's a poor cliche.

[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 1) (#62)
by Thought Assassin on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:19:23 AM EST

What harm does it do? One of the most obvious reasons why the various parts of internet culture that have eschewed copyright protection outcompete their traditional, encumbered rivals is this: It is the nature of information that it is most useful when propogated freely, and trying to fight against that is only going to hurt you in the end. This idea needs to be spread so the rest of the world can learn what we know, but the above sentence does not a soundbite make. Way too abstract, so what's wrong with anthropomorphizing a little to build a fitter meme? Unless maybe you have a better one? I don't see anything that suggests the author has misused the quote, either. You might argue that his context is more general, but the concept is the same.

[ Parent ]
sounds like (2.50 / 4) (#53)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 05:06:07 PM EST

"the revolution will not be televised"

and other meaningless manic depressive sloganeering

author, you realize how your mania comes through in your words, right?

how are the 10 symphonies and 4 novels you are contemporaneously writing coming along?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

bingo! (2.80 / 5) (#55)
by MrAndrews on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 05:39:28 PM EST

impassioned, manic, sloganeering.  I wouldn't say manic depressive, though it certainly sounds more dramatic.

I can't write music, and I don't write novels, but I am working on a series bible and a website at the moment, thanks for asking.

I just thought we all might need a kick in the pants about this.  I'll try and be less enthusiastic next time.

[ Parent ]

your honesty is a credit (3.00 / 5) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 05:49:04 PM EST

most people can't criticize themselves on certain aspects of their personality, because they think they need to change that

not true

it is more valuable to admit your weaknesses, and know they exist, and continue to function with them

too many people think they are perfect or can be perfect, and so can't take any criticism at all

90% of the people here on kuro5hin, upon characterizing them as manic or hysterical or whatever would just attack me right back

but no: you absorbed it, identified with it, and owned it

therefore, you should go far in this world, because although there are many things holding us back in this world, for many people, but not you, it is themselves that holds themselves back the most

your honesty is a credit

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

see, THAT was well-spoken (none / 1) (#57)
by MrAndrews on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 06:00:02 PM EST

Thanks for writing that.

My feeling about all things (but especially writing) is that eventually, you have to put your words down somewhere for people to read.  And they'll savage it, tear it to shreds, and burn what's left... so that all you're left with are a few tattered remnants on the ground.  You take the survivors and nurture them into something new; you take the ashes and think about why they ended up this way.  You don't necessarily do much differently next time, but it does a world of good to understand where your weaknesses are.

It's actually more worrying if you write something that everyone loves.  Either your audience is too small, or no one really thought much about it.  So by those standards, this piece here is a huge success for me!

[ Parent ]

don't thank him for that (none / 0) (#65)
by fleece on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 06:50:56 AM EST

he's being patronising.

I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
Was he? (1.50 / 2) (#69)
by frijolito on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 11:36:56 AM EST

I didn't think so. cts might be a lot of things, but I've always felt he's earnest.

[ Parent ]
no, that wasn't patronizing (none / 1) (#81)
by circletimessquare on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 01:37:17 AM EST

here, this is patronizing:

(puts arm on your shoulder and smiles)

you're such a cute smarmy asshole, why don't you suck my dick?

(takes arm off shoulder, sprays it with lysol, spits on your face, walks away)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

lol idealist bullshit (2.33 / 3) (#58)
by MMcP on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 08:05:19 PM EST

You don't spend too much time in the diary ghetto, do you?

why does every paragraph start with "we" (none / 1) (#68)
by boxed on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 10:16:53 AM EST

ok, not the second and third, but fuck man, it's still bad.

wow (none / 1) (#71)
by MrAndrews on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:37:51 PM EST

I hadn't noticed that. Might be a sign of creeping mental incapacity. On the other hand, if I threw in a chorus, it would make a kickass song!

[ Parent ]
We (none / 1) (#75)
by skavookie on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:41:37 PM EST

Being a mathematician, we heartily encourage the promiscuous use of the word "we." It is a powerful word that can signal to the reader that we intend for our work not to merely be passively read, but actively engaged.

We now return to oru regular programming.

[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 0) (#76)
by ghjm on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:44:05 PM EST

But you'll have your work cut out finding an audience that will sit still for the three and a half hours it would take you to play it.


[ Parent ]

Why does every paragraph start with "we" (none / 0) (#80)
by theprincessjjm on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 06:25:18 PM EST

This sounds like me ex-husband. Especially the over religious.

[ Parent ]
two words: (none / 1) (#70)
by Lemi4 on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:00:32 PM EST

cognitive dissonance

cheers, Lemi4
cognitive dissonance (none / 0) (#72)
by MrAndrews on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:42:30 PM EST

My brain's turned to mush today so I hope you don't mind if I ask you if you could spell it out for me. I think I know what you mean, but then again, I also thought I'd boiled that water before pouring it into my instant coffee this morning.

[ Parent ]
You, Sir, have made a mistake (2.50 / 4) (#73)
by cdguru on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 01:56:17 PM EST

You have somehow gotten the idea that most, if not all, people can be (or want to be) "creators". This is clearly not true. Most people are content to be consumers and want only to consume. The mere idea of having to be a "creator" frightens them.

100 years ago, perhaps a bit more, people with an interest in music played music. Today, 99.99% of the people with an "interest" in music download or buy recordings of other people playing. And a no-talent person that can play can become a "star" overnight. A few people go to plays, most watch movies - essentially recorded plays - and practically nobody understands what it is to act. Worse yet, important people with (possibly) a message don't even write their own books - they get someone else to do it.

Does the message get lost because we are so removed from the act of creation and so completely tied to being a passive consumer?

By being so removed from "creation" of anything, most people don't understand any sort of creative or artistic process. This leads to nothing being created by them and (worse) an utter lack of understanding of what is required to actually create quality. Quantity, pandering to emotion and self-promotion are all mistaken for quality.

Sorry, your entire article is a plea for creation and nobody is listening. Most "blogging" is one-hand-clapping where someone with an opinion thinks other people want to consume their opinions - it is barely an act of creation.

Scared of Creation (none / 0) (#74)
by skavookie on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:37:46 PM EST

You and MrAndrews are really making the same point as I see it: Most people are either scared to be creators or don't realize that they can be creators. They have absorbed the party line fed to them by the Powers That Be: only those we create can be creators.

But this is simply not true. Everyone has an inner creator trying to get out. Why do you think blogs and such are so popular? They provide a venue in which the ordinary person can be a creator of content. The problem is that people have been so thoroughly trained not to be creators that they don't really know how. Therefore we need to teach them how and provide an infrastructure that encourages them to create.

You're right about the "one hand clapping" point - there is a lot of content out there that only has value to the creator of that content - but that's fine, those creators can enjoy their own content and fantasies, while most of us just ignore it. Remember that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and all that. And perhaps if we engage those people and provide constructive feedback then they can learn to produce content that we would consider more valuable. If not, we just move on.

The internet allows anyone to publish their work, without any concern for who they are or how talented they are, and then the collective pseudo-consciousness of the community will hopefully judge the work on its merits by linking or not linking to it.

[ Parent ]

Point of Order... (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by MrMikey on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 02:53:46 PM EST

There's a difference between saying most people don't create their own content, and saying they can't. Indeed, the plethora of 'blogs we see sprouting all over the net like mushrooms ("barely an act of creation" is another way of saying "an act of creation"), and the mind bogglingly fast growth of the web itself, is testament to the fact that people can and do create content... just not in the form of plays, ink-and-paper books, or music.

Many people are creators. You or I may not care for the content they create, but create they do. Indeed, the posts we place here are acts of creation themselves. You created with your post, and I'm creating right now. Our computers allow us to each have our own printing press (or music hall or even theatre stage, if we're so inclined).

[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 1) (#91)
by hummassa on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 07:30:48 AM EST

Even the most simplistic person I know likes to tell a joke, or to sing, or to say witty things, you know, all stuff that requires "creation": they just don't want to do that in front of a crowd, and to be judged.
Even I (proud as I am of my computer skills) am not really fond of being overcriticized... and that's why I like to play the guitar or sing my tunes all by myself or to a select audience of victims.

[ Parent ]
You nailed it. (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by Moochman on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 09:24:51 AM EST

So cynical, yet so true...

[ Parent ]
Give it a minute or two (none / 0) (#95)
by pyro9 on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 01:12:05 PM EST

You can't expect decades of anti-culture to evaporate overnight. It could take a generation change before it REALLY catches on, the same way kids of my generation instinctively understand the hand-eye coordination of joystick or paddle and screen but our parents had a real difficulty with Pong.

However, there are a LOT of people on the net. Enough that if 0.01% (the complement to your 99.99%) decide to create a show (audio video or other) even as a lark, the rest will have more choices than they know what to do with. I'm CERTAIN they won't all be hits, but then again, how many shows on cable are really all that good?

If, as you say, people with no talent can become a star today, that bodes well for stars on the internet doesn't it? (well, it bodes well for there BEING stars anyway). The problem with conventional mass media is that it's a lot more profitable to make a star out of someone that a million people think are OK than it is to make stars of 10 people that 100,000 will think are GREAT. We can hope that once factories, trucks, 'slotting fees' and the like are removed from the equasion, that balance will shift.

Sorry, your entire article is a plea for creation and nobody is listening. Most "blogging" is one-hand-clapping where someone with an opinion thinks other people want to consume their opinions - it is barely an act of creation.

Sure, 90% of everything is crap. So what? With so many potential creators out there, surely 2 or 3 will be fairly decent. The real trick is to figure out a way to find them amongst the noise.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Wooo, "Let's make an economy" (3.00 / 2) (#82)
by der on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 06:54:44 AM EST

Did it ever occur to you that maybe the fact that there's no popular "brands" and "superstars" and everything isn't driven by financial profit is what makes the Internet different (and good) in the first place?

You need to stopp being starstruck by "the offline world". The entire premise of your article is based on worshipping and attempting to emulate it.

good point (none / 0) (#86)
by MrAndrews on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 12:17:53 PM EST

I partly agree with you.  A big part of this whole article was that there's some value in having brands and superstars in the first place.  Though I don't think having a brand is necessarily related to profit (K5 being a brand, or Slashdot... even "blogging" is a brand in a way).  But that's definitely true... there may be not reason to aspire to that kind of world.

I'm struggling with a second article that I think addresses this issue a bit more directly.  I don't see brands/money as conflicting with the internet mindset, but it takes a bit of explaining.  I don't think internet-culture brands will be the same as offline brands, but I think there's some value in... er... value.

[ Parent ]

There is value in superstars (none / 0) (#98)
by artis on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 04:22:36 PM EST

But not if you want to have a creative community. Imagine a K5 where the majority of people read articles written by rusty and more or less ignore everything else, would this encourage more people to submit articles? This is what superstars are all about IMHO.
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
Your third eye... (none / 1) (#85)
by redeye on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 10:38:08 AM EST

...is well and truly squeegeed.

damn kids (none / 1) (#87)
by MrAndrews on Thu Aug 11, 2005 at 12:19:19 PM EST

i'm not quite sure how to take that, but I'll pretend it's an enthusiastic compliment.

[ Parent ]
A bit late now... (none / 0) (#101)
by redeye on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 05:45:09 PM EST

But it was a Bill Hicks reference

[ Parent ]
We need editors to make the creations accessible (3.00 / 2) (#94)
by Sniffel on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 06:50:42 PM EST

One huge problem with the online world is that there just aren't enough editors. Everyone wants to spout all kinds of crap^H^H^H^Hstuff, but no one really want to clean it up, sifting through it to find the real gems, bringing the cream to the top, fix errors and typos, factcheck, etc.

One thing that would increase cross-pollination between the gardens would be to make every garden more accessible to outsiders. Explain what you have to offer in terms that someone not immediately familiar with the topic can understand. The GIMP would be an obvious example, many graphically inclined people are probably scared off by the geeky newbie-unfriendly tone of the open source "garden".

When done right this opening up of the gardens can be very powerful and lead to creations getting vastly wider attention than it would have otherwise. Often the really insightful information is hidden on message boards for example, somewhere most casual browsers wouldn't go, and even if they did they'd have a very hard time finding the really relevant information.
Just lifting out the meat and structuring it in a way that makes it accessible helps immensly.

But being an editor in this fashion is very hard work, and often very thankless. If you're really good at what you do you're virtually invisible, since you manage to put the subject matter in focus, not yourself. You're rarely thanked (because often you don't actually "create" anything yourself) but mostly get complaints for any mistakes or errors.

All in all, I think this is where the offline world has a huge leg-up, because they can actually pay people to do this editorial work. There are very few people willing to do this kind of stuff voluntarily, and even fewer actually able to do it for longer stretches of time.

To all of the naysayers here (none / 1) (#96)
by pyro9 on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 01:55:19 PM EST

With all of the free to inexpensive magazines, newspapers , and television shows available (and ready to be delivered to your home if you choose), you're reading k5. Are you SURE nobody on the net has anything worthwhile to say? No entertainment value to offer you? (even if you just like heckling people).

If, in defiance of all logic, you are sure, then show us how it's done! It will only cost you a little time, and you obviously have that to spare.

The future isn't what it used to be
Woo-hoo! My navel ROCKS! (2.66 / 3) (#97)
by nailgun on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 09:57:31 PM EST

We need to create our own brands, our own stars, and we need to do it for ourselves, on our own terms.

So what you're saying is we -- and by that you of course mean (mostly) white upper-middle-class liberal internet nerds -- aren't enough of a callow, self-absorbed clique? Sheeit, no wonder the Republicans win all the elections.

critical mass (none / 0) (#99)
by garote on Thu Aug 18, 2005 at 04:50:27 PM EST

I think this article would be better received if you narrowed the audience to a subset of internet denizens - people who Blog About Stuff On The Internets as a means of attracting like-minded people.

Those people are probably the perfect mixture of editorialist and artist to take the message of this piece and run with it. The rest of the online world will handily ignore it, and continue:

1. Whining about their tedious "RL" frustrations (live/deadjournal)

2. Taking sentence fragments out of context and 'refuting' them in disjointed forums in order to prove the size of their brain and the length of their cock (slashdot/here)

3. Accumulating and masturbating over great collections of pr0n, jokes, free music, bad movie rips, and consumer goods.

Even if you narrow your piece to speak to the people who'd appreciate it most, you may still want to keep in mind the context of the internet. To many people, It's essentially a faster, slightly more connected version of the answering machine. Shit goes down a wire, they listen and record, but it remains a tool on the periphery of their REAL PHYSICAL LIFE, only useful in its capacity to enhance that life. You CAN'T take on REAL PHYSICAL LIFE and CONQUER it with the equivalent of the answering machine, as your manifesto seems to demand.

You want poetic? (none / 0) (#100)
by HappyWalrus on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 08:06:13 PM EST


Go Outside.

Things are Changing (none / 0) (#102)
by Mighty Joe on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 10:32:21 PM EST

Things are Changing. We do get the news from the internet. So many of us that NBC, CBS and all the major news networks have seen their ratings drop. There are also movies and other forms of entertainment popping out of the internet culture. Everything is changing in many ways and the old establishments are fighting back as hard as they can but the users now demand the internet culture and eventually they will win. Eventually bands will have to sell things besides songs, phone companies will have to sell something else than long distance, and software companies will have to make money on something other than code. The market is changing because of the internet so your call to arms is a day late but the viewpoint is appreciated. I think the evolution of our market is just making the mainstream market and they are trying to play catch up too late. The leaders in the internet will be the big companies of tomorrow. Yahoo, google, online news networks, free anything, is all hot. I run 2 BLOGs - one on "best of breed" windows software and the other on "best of breed" internet extensions. Both are an indication that you don't have to pay for something to get a lot of value. That is the beauty of the internet market! http://mightyjoefirefox.blogspot.com/ http://mightyjoesfree.blogspot.com/

Our Walled Gardens | 102 comments (79 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!