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Scripting News -- It's Even Worse Than It Appears.

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A picture named daveTiny.jpgDave Winer, 56, is a software developer and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School and NYU, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

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"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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January 2012

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FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)

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Dave Winer's weblog, started in April 1997, bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Ask not what the Internet... Permalink.

On Twitter, with its 140-character limit, there's little focus to the discussion about the new filitering they just announced. Here are some of my comments, in bullet form, hopefully to add some more substance to the discussion..

1. We don't know very much about what they're doing, and it's not clear that we ever will.

2. The examples they cite, laws in France and Germany that prohibit pro-Nazi speech, are somewhat reasonable. But I suspect this will be used in the future to prevent leaks of information they don't want leaked. If Twitter-like tech is the new world stage, and I think it is, they want to control who has what access to it.

By "they" I mean the unspecified governments and companies that can tell Twitter to make something inaccessible somewhere.

3. The Internet is not a law-free zone.

4. I am not passing judgment on Twitter. I will gladly concede they have no choice.

5. What we're deciding, by our actions, is whether the Internet will be like TV, a medium where individuals can perhaps comment on what's being broadcast (that would be the innovation, the interactivity) but without the ability to organize ourselves outside of the control of huge corporations and governments.

6. Yes, the governments can shut down anything they want.

7. But, as I've pleaded previously, if we force them to shut down the Internet to control the flow of information, everyone will know. If there is an ability to shut off communities selectively, that would be hard to detect.

8. Clarity on whether the Internet is up or down is something we should value and protect.

9. It's possible today to be on a decentralized network and still participate in Twitter. If large numbers of us do it, Twitter won't be able to quietly turn this feature off, or limit it, without lots of real users feeling it.

10. We should have tutorial sessions at every Internet policy conference that show people how easy it is to operate your own infrastructure. It's really there now, ready to teach users how to do it. But you have to make a commitment to standing up for the Internet. It will never be as easy as Twitter. However, if Twitter shuts you off, it won't effect your presence. That's worth a little more complexity. (And the complexity is all in setup, not in posting. Once set up, it's faster than in Twitter itself.)

11. If you work or study at a university in compsci or journalism, learn how to run a server, and then teach others how to do it. If you want to make a real contribution to the Internet, that's how to do it. Signing petitions or forcing minor movement in Washington really isn't that effective.

12. Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet.

Anyway, that's it for now. :-)

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 1/27/2012; 2:14:01 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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