The following links give different opinions on the topic of whether or not the Internet can be compared to the old wild west. On the one hand, I have experienced questionable situations online that almost always stemmed from Internet anonymity. However, I can’t say I’ve been bullied or abused online and that’s because I don’t allow that to happen.
Now, on the other hand, the reason why I’m writing this post is because I saw one of the most vicious, notorious publishing bloggers on the world wide web state that the Internet is NOT anything like the wild west. She prefers things to remain the way they are. And why shouldn’t she? She’s been getting away with anything she wants for years and no one has questioned her. But when I see things like that it makes me wonder, because this particular blogger is part of the reason why the Internet is now being compared to the wild west. To put it into perspective, the most notorious outlaws of the old wild west would have said basically the same thing she’s saying now in order to keep things the way they are. Abuse of power is a tricky thing to prove and she’s smart enough to know it.
When we think of the Old West, we remember how wild and dangerous it was and the opportunities it provided. The Internet really isn’t much different. Let’s analyze the similarities and consider how we can tame the wild, wild web.
It’s an interesting post about why this blogger thinks the Internet is like the wild west. It would be hard to disagree with the comment made about the opportunities the Internet has provided people…like the vicious blogger I mentioned above…who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to voice her opinions. And like most vicious bloggers, this one will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
This is interesting, too:
Both in the Wild West and on the Internet, law is localized. If you’ve ever spent anytime commenting or posting a one specific forum or blog, then you’ll immediately recognize what I’m talking about. Each hub is structured, being run by those who spend the money to front the site. Users who are trusted and have a good standing status are promoted to mods, the equivalent of a sheriff or “lawman.” Rules and regulations vary widely between these Internet towns, but many are common.
The rest of the article is just as good, and I recommend reading it in full to get the full picture.
Here’s an article that claims the opposite. The only issue I have is that a lot of the articles that claim the opposite were written a while ago. A lot has happened since these articles have been written and I’m not sure they stand up anymore. But it’s still interesting.
We recently wrote about Nicolas Sarkozy’s push to convince the tech world and the “digerati” that it’s time to clamp down on Internet freedoms. While he was more blatant and direct about it, we’re seeing a similar theme elsewhere, and frequently see such claims in our comments as well. It’s all based on this idea that the Internet is some sort of “wild west” that is a haven for all sorts of illegality, and that needs to come to an end.
The problem is that this is a myth. It makes for a compelling narrative, but it’s a myth nonetheless.
While I cringe at the thought of the things the “wild west publishing blogger” I mentioned above has been doing on the Internet for years now, I don’t want my Internet freedoms being taken away because she’s so vicious. When this happens we get into censorship, regulation, and all kinds of things that could make the Internet a place where it’s impossible for people to do business.
If you don’t believe me, try opening a small business anywhere, in any city, in America to see what I mean. The amount of red tape and government regulations that are imposed on small business owners has now reached the point of ridiculous. I have a good friend who runs a small gourmet farm market. She was recently told by the county board of health that in order to cut a watermelon in half in her store for customers who don’t want the whole watermelon she would need to spend a huge amount of money to be licensed and approved. If she did this, she would have to sell a lot of watermelons to make that money back, so she decided to sell the watermelons as is and if people want to cut them they can do it at home.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out. I’m not sure there’s a viable solution because I’m not sure people like the blogger I mentioned above can ever be trusted with the honor system. In publishing alone, the things I’ve seen happen this summer have stunned me. But it’s not just an issue in publishing. It’s an issue all over the Internet that everyone is dealing with now.
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