Conversations

Internet rant #3

Who knows where the hell you are!

If I made a two column list — what I like and what I don’t like — about the Internet, the like column would probably have around half a dozen, maybe up to ten, entries; the don’t like column would get into the area with lots and lots of zeros.

Here are a few from the hundreds of thousands in the don’t like column, beginning with the one that happens to be most fresh, since encountering it again this morning is what stimulated this post (rant).

Stop presuming you know who I am by where I am.

I live in South America, but I do not speak or understand much Spanish. I have also recently lived in Germany, but I do not speak or understand much German. Although I have never once clicked on an ad on any Internet site, were I inclined to do so, the ads are unintelligible to me anyway, I can’t read them. Also, when I visit blogs and leave a comment, the instructions appear in a language I do not understand, and all the blog notations and headings convert from English, the original language, into Spanish … or whatever language is most commonly spoken in the location where I happen to be using an Internet connection. Just offer a clear and easy to locate choice — what basic language do you prefer?

Block anonymity.

The positive benefits of being anonymous are rare, and stomped to insignificance by the dangers of it; especially on the Internet. Probably ninety percent of the problems with and dangers of the Internet would be eliminated by eliminating anonymity. Whistle-blowers, little people trying to expose the crimes of big people need anonymity. Nobody else does. Everyone else uses it to cover up something they are ashamed of, or to hide actions that are criminal or immoral. It is the cloak of bullying. For every one benefit to being anonymous, there are fifty dangers. It has always seemed to me that if one isn’t willing to attach one’s name to a statement, comment, or opinion, then the chances are very good that one is stating something dumb, ridiculous, false, or harmful.

Beware the universality.

The Internet has put all its eggs, all of everybody’s eggs, in one flimsy basket. If the bottom falls out, all the eggs break and there’s nothing left. As one of my electronic genius friends has pointed out, just one exceptional and radical burst of sunspot activity (rare, but not unknown) would wipe the Internet slate clean: destroy the money supply, eliminate the data of our lives, knock out virtually all our communications networks, and plunge us back to the 19th century at the speed of light. (At least those of us who read books with print on paper would have something left to occupy our minds.)

There it is.

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Categories: Conversations, Pontifications

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4 replies »

  1. I agree about the anonymity certainly. Rarely does anything good come from it. But sometimes, not even a name can muzzle stupidity.

    Someday there may be a solar flare that wipes out the Internet. I imagine it’ll be like the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Imagine some archeologist uncovering a computer two thousand years from now and pulling from it’s Internet spam cache on the hard drive snippets of our “modern” literature.

    They’ll think us obsessed with the size of our members, our prescription drug intake, and striking it rich by helping some good Samaritan in Nigeria get money out of the country.

    Oh wait…

    • The email informing me of this comment in my Gmail box carried a column of ads down the side (in both English and Spanish), all on writing and literature related subjects.

      Now how do you suppose Gmail knew that I might be interested in ads like that?

      I understand that some anonymous software program does that: isolates key words from an email and then sends out targeted ads. But frankly, I don’t like it. And on principle, even were I so inclined, I would never visit a site from any of those ads.

      Fuck you, Google.