Thursday May 03, 2007

Web 2.0 - the rest of the story

If you saw this story in today's SF Chronicle, or in Linda Skrocki's blog, you will have seen the problems DIGG got into when it tried to censor something its users didn't want censored. Without getting into the discussion of DRM (digital rights management) and whether you agree with the recording industry being able to protect their content (a TOTALLY different topic, with lots of passionate opinions), I think this story shows something broader about Web 2.0 - what do you do when (or if) the crowd is not "right" or "wise"?

This has come up elsewhere in discussions of MediaWiki and how anyone can put erroneous information out there, and until now I had always bought the argument that the erroneous information would get quickly corrected by "the crowd" and therefore little harm done. But this incident points out, what if alot of people want to put out information "we" (whoever "we" are) don't want them to? You remove one reference, they add another. What if there are more of "them" then there are of us?

I guess it's just an extension of free speech, but the implications are vast. Because of the reach of the internet, a determined bunch of people can reach alot of folks with information we may not want them to have - such as how to build IEDs to blow up more people? (Probably already out there somewhere, but hopefully not easily found today?)

This free, unfettered access to the digital world may have some very mixed blessings... 

 

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