Friday, June 15, 2018

The Death of the Internet

This site has a long history. Over the years we've had a bunch of different (mostly great) contributors. We met a lot of friends through posting here. We (used to) get insight and even spar a bit (in fun) with commenters.

But the internet is mostly dead. Obviously we aren't the first folks to notice this and we are going over ground that has been thoroughly plowed but just wanted to give my 2 cents.

Comments have been wrecked by bots. They are the best proof of the iron laws of economics that things that are charged at a price of zero will be consumed infinitely. Since it doesn't cost anything to spam nor are there any effective barriers to spam, spam has taken over the world. See below, on a different site I run, that really doesn't try to push or sell anything to boot (little eCommerce value).

Just thousands and thousands of spam comments. You can't even open the door for comments anymore, else you are just overrun.

Of course on a parallel front there is the problem with trolls. Hell, a few trolls are fine, but obviously when they just jump on any post and / or are really fronts to sell something, then it is garbage. There are a few ways to deal with this, but many large sites have abandoned comments and any sort of two way dialog.

Social media has picked up much of what used to be personal blogs. And there is nothing wrong with that. I'm far from a social media expert and try to stay far away personally because it just seems to be a rabbit hole with no end. Also people curate themselves in the best possible light and / or just jump on everything with internet rage since it doesn't cost a cent to bring the internet outrage, just like the spam bots above.

Then you get to commerce, where lots of the ratings are rigged. I've bought stuff with 5 stars only to find out it is mostly garbage. You need to try to figure out what comments are real and what's fake, and pull value out of the page where you can find it. Obviously the big giants are working to fix this 24/7 (when it is in their interest to do so) but that, too, has been significantly damaged.

That's not to say that there aren't a lot of good things out there. Google Guides and maps don't pay folks and in some ways are like the old internet, with people putting up things for others to use, except that now we are all slaves to drive revenues to the internet monopoly Google. Not as much fun, that, but since the internet is all carved up between vast monopolists, there's no point in shouting down the toilet.

Maybe something good will come from all of this. I don't know. But it is clear to me at least that everything that can be wrecked with free technology like bots has been wrecked. And the more fun parts of the web have mostly been captured by giant monopolies that want you in their garden.

The news and newspapers are already beat to death but when we started it was good to try to point out what was real and what was not real. Many of the writers didn't know what they were talking about and the internet tried to lay in alternative points of view but damn this has descended into madness. I just tune it all out.

I'm waiting to jump back into something that interests me, where I can contribute, and be part of a (small) community that tries to help each other. That will be coming, in some guise, and when I have time I can do so. It certainly isn't all bleak. My mother gets immense pleasure out of the shared approach to genealogy, and that's great. There's lots of good threads to navigate and more to come.

Just two cents to think of the old and what is dead.


Dan from Madison said...

The "old" blogging days were super interesting. You could engage with actual authors of pieces and have fun and creative dialog. Most of those people and blogs are now vanished. It was sort of the wild west, but you could typically know that you were actually interacting with people. But now we have what you describe and this is why we can't have nice things.

I think as far as contributing to a certain community, I believe you can do this, but you will have to either go to a "dark" web to avoid all of the insane noise, or just do it in person, which is what I intend to to later in life.

Carl from Chicago said...

Yes the "dark" web may become the "new web". At least there you have walls and can boot out trolls and only let in those that actually contribute.

In person is also a great way to view the world.

Likely something will emerge that is equivalent to "white listing" where the only folks that can join are those that you let in. Kind of like word of mouth.

Going to have to find a new way to meet interesting and intellectual people and to engage with them.

Dan from Madison said...

Having walls/boundaries is the key.

meb said...

Phew - saw the headline and thought you guys were shutting down for good. As for how to meet interesting and intellectual people - I've been finding lately that there are plenty of those people in my little local community, so the internet is mostly used for research, a little bit of news and entertainment - basically nothing of significant value. Any interaction with real live people is so much more satisfying. Take care.