Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by WilHarris, 4 Jan 2007.
The internet is not pure communism, especially wikipedia. There are admins on everything, its the very nature of life that what one person finds acceptable 100's people will find unacceptable, almost inversely proportionate.
I think the problem with the "Virtual Communism" is still to determine where the Virtual state ends and where the physical one begins, the Internet will one day require a single law book which is uniform and presented to all, I for one will welcome the idea of this book with open arms when it arrives. However, if it begins to impede our civil liberties in the real world (i.e. fair use) then I will begin to beat it with closed fists.
Communism or Anarchy?
We're not compeled to help, many people don't they merely take, others steal. The weak (granny's with no virus protection) are attacked the by the strong (18yr Computer Science student with a trojan) and theres no one in cyber space to help out. Sure the police back in the "real world" will take an interest, but on the internet theres no one looking out for you.
I must disagree with Matkubicki on this one. The internet has the greatest concentration of helpful people I have ever seen. Whenever I have a problem (be it computer/technology related or not) the internet is the first place I look for help and 99% I'll find what I'm looking for. In the other instances all I have to do is ask - post on a message board, enter a chat room or just write a bulletin on myspace.
I'm not saying there are no nice places on the net, just that much of it (probably the majority in terms of content, if not visitors) is not a nice place and would spam/fraud/flashing bouncy banner ad you out of existance if it could
Capitalism is alive and well in Web 2.0
Myspace was sold to Rupert Murdoch, making its owner very wealthy. Youtube was purchased by Google, making its owners very wealthy. Digg was recently offered something like $150 million, but turned it down because they did not feel like that was enough?
I don’t remember hearing that either Myspace or Youtube offered any of their hard working users/contributors any money after the sell.
Yes but the point isn't that the sites themselves are communistic in nature (the examples you pointed out are obviously highly capitalistic), but the community atmosphere is overall a very communistic one, people who don't contribute to the community are, taking a wide view, weeded out.
Mind you, I can't say "penis penis penis penis penis" all over the "copyright" page of wikipaedia helps anyone... Oh well, made helping a neighbour with his IT homework more entertaining.
My point is that Communism is suppose to be about joint ownership, everyone has an equal share/responsibility. Most of the well known (high traffic) Web 2.0 sites have a business model and are intended to make money for their owners and not the community. Most of the sites contain ads, its about getting eye balls to view the pages (I am reminded of this because as I post this, there are three ads constantly flashing at me). This does not meet the definition of communism.
Wikipedia is more the exception not the rule.
I believe most of Web 2.0 is about community not communism. The web sites do benefit people and mostly at no cost to the people who receive the benefit. But the community does not jointly own the sites, and is therefore not communism.
Ironic? Yes - but it took that (commercial) entrepreneurial spirit to start these ventures. Communism is theoretically the most democratic system possible though none of the large implementations so far have been at all democratic - mostly changes from one dictatorship to another.
What was that last sentence to be?
Edit: fixed now.
Last sentance is a mistake
Nothing on the internet is really free (except the cash sinks, like Wikipedia, living on donations, someone is paying for it just not "you"), like others said. Even print publications.. the good ones are moving online and either still getting ad revenue, or, like The Economist, are just so good with such a high standard that no free alternative comes close to existing.. leading to me pay $77 a year for student access.
I dont really see it all as communism though.. the whole open source movement has extremely strong overtones of it (and some times its boosters get prickly at the comparison), but they hardly count because when most of those projects "grow up", what do they do? They become publicly traded companies that discover profit motive and abandon their lowest-common-denominator ways in a quest to make money (Red Hat, like you pointed out, being a good example).
But the social aspect? Everything you brought up socially happens in the non-digital world, at the corner bar, or where I'm at, say, the Student Union's restaurant, or the LAN Gaming Center on campus or across the street. We interact in many of the same ways on line (including fanatic support of our establishment of choice), sharing things, telling tales, etc. But.. I don't know, don't see how that same social meeting among pows transfers to the internet and becomes a communist gathering.
But if the point is just that the internet is a big social place, then, yeah, thats definitely true.
I highly disagree and actually find it's roughly similar to the real world.
If you were to start asking people randomly for financial advice in the middle of a shopping center or something, you'd be more likely to get abuse than help (ie:'dodgy' or spammy sites) but if you were to go to a citizen's advice bureau (ie: google leading to helpfull advice websites/forums) you'd get many people helping you for free.
As with most things on the internet (and real life) you just need to know where to look.
Good points & Welcome to our community.
People who donate are selfish too. People donate, and it makes them feel better. That in itself is a selfish act. Just because the act of donate helps the masses, doesn't necessarily mean it is the reason for donating.
Myspace et al are also not filled with people 'who want to contribute to a community' but are also filled with narcissistic individuals who want to show off something.
And the people who join these groups are following 'trends', they do not actively choose to help people, but they do choose to follow the crowd, follow a trend or succumb to advertising and viral media.. contributing on sites that are run by corporations with the emphasis on one goal, to make money.
Just because you chose to focus on the few sites that are communistic in nature, it doesn't reflect the internet as a whole.
You may be saying that i'm a cynic and people are not like that... but I can argue back that you are naive and people are. But the best compromise is also the bottom line.
Neither you or I are correct, we are both correct.
Your view is wildly misleading and in my opinion, incorrect.
Like society, if you choose to look for a communist environment, you will find it. But it doesn't reflect the whole.
Same with the internet, go out looking for Marx and Stalinist ideals and you will find it... just don't overlook everything that makes up the internet.
Good job on the article, but it is a flawed concept tbh.
Wikipedia is probably the best example of this but just about everything else is intended to make the owner a little money.
Maybe I'm just an optimist, but whats wrong if you're making money while helping people? Especially if there are no costs incurred by the people you are helping.
Nothing is wrong with it but wikipedia is probably the best example of no intention of making money, sharing and all that.
I dunno about you all, but I help when I can because I like when I see someone say "Thx, you leet man " after I explain how a sinusoidal function is graphed to someone in Peru or wherever
Sure, it's ego there, but it's helping none the less, you all help, I've been helped here on Bit plenty of times, it's all just a community of helpers, people who know stuff and take interest in it. Therefore they like talking about it, especially in a world like this were social phobia means nothing. It is communism, but plenty of people are ruining that. Those people include, but are not limited to: ISPs over pricing internet when 2 more Mb/s probably doesn't cost them $20 more a month, Microsoft for being evil in many ways, AOL for the reasons as MS like trying to be the company we rely on for browsing/music listening etc., fraud sites and we all know why, virus makers, Apple and iTunes don't ask why, forums that require membership fees, not bit-tech, pedophiles, and last but not least, FredMeyer.com because that is the most unhelpful and hard to navigate site ever!
Great article from the (maybe not so) evil Bindi
A couple fairly random thougts on this...
Everyone says that the web, and to some extent the "real" world, is full of nastyness, but I think there is somthing in our nature that causes us to overstate the negative and ignore the positive. Sure we all hear about all those nasty people and places on the web, but outside of spam how often do you really see them? I know from my expierience it's pretty rare.
I think that this so called "Web 2.0" has finally made the transition from marketing hype to a real revolution in himan interaction and it's a wonderful thing.
Internet is a spontaneous order and entirely individualistic, because it is based on individual liberty, freedom of association, individual soverginity (self-ownership) and let's individuality prosper.
Marxism is based on the totality of the group and conformity and you can make connection with internet from any of the individualistic philosophies like individualist-anarchism, anarcho-capitalism, anti statist liberalism, voluntaryism rather than from Marx or his savants.
If taken to a philosophical end the internet has nothing to do with Marxism or any of the other collectivist philosophies but is rather based on voluntary association of sovereign individuals.
"The socialist society would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults." Nozick
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