Eric and Doc on What Lies Between

Eric Norlin and Doc Searls are having at it about “the nature of the web” and so on. Doc is advocating the World of Ends, End-to-End side, and Eric is saying, “Get real, Doc; the web is going to change. If you love it, set it free.” Doc’s wary that the BigCo’s are likely do to the Web what they’re doing to broadcast media: Engulf and Devour. Eric’s comfortable with business tailoring some of the Web to suit its ends, and leaving “unfiltered” Web-water for the rest of us.

I’m going to butt in with a few quick points.

  • The time to fend off MegaCorps is earlier rather than later; if there’s anything important and worth saving about an end-to-end net, we can’t afford simply to stand back and see what they do first, then try to remedy the damage.
  • There’s a difference between digital ID and a Web whose protocols are regulated to suit the business interests of telcos and ISPs. I don’t read Doc as dismissing the notion of DigID; I do see him fighting to stave off the predations of corporate forces whose sole interest has to be maximizing the profits of their investors (investors like Eric! — and the bank where my fifty cents of checking account reside).
  • Part of the problem here involves the spatial metaphor, doesn’t it? If we were to think of the middle of the Web, the “between” of End-to-End, as capacity or a force of nature, some of the argumentative kinks would look a lot different. Ain’t no one going to stand still for corporations regulating the use of imagination, or the use of the air for propagating sound waves, or the gestures you can make with the fingers of your left hand. It’s that pesky space that people think they can regulate, as if it were property.
  • Eric, that’s not a satisfactorily nuanced characterization of churches and doctrine, and you know that. I know, it’s only an illustration.
  • Doc: “one answer is to find more ways to get more academic stuff on line as well as in libraries” (okay, it’s off-topic, but I wanted to squeeze it in here anyway) — That’s what we’re about at the Disseminary. Keep on demanding it — those of us trying to make it happen need the support.

Now, only two or three other topics for immediate blogging.

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