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Tim Berners-Lee: Stop Foaming At the Mouth, Twitter 307

nk497 writes "Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, has challenged users to improve social networks. He describes Twitter users as 'foaming at the mouth' and unwilling to retweet any update that wasn't offering an extreme opinion. 'How do you design a form of Twitter, how do you change the retweet system, so that Twitter will end up gathering a body of reasoned debate?' he asked. He noted that Facebook-style networks kept users within their existing friend groups, and didn't 'stretch' them to meet new people. Berners-Lee asked how can we 'make use of the web so it connects people together and breaks down barriers more than it builds them up.' Any ideas?"
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Tim Berners-Lee: Stop Foaming At the Mouth, Twitter

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  • " so that Twitter will end up gathering a body of reasoned debate"

    In what....180 characters or something like that?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The character limit certainly hinders long, well-thought-out responses. However, I posit that the real problem is social rather than technological. In the US, at least, we as a society have become much more divisive, and no amount of technology is going to reflect differently.

      • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:46PM (#35870962) Journal

        In the US, at least, we as a society have become much more divisive, and no amount of technology is going to reflect differently.

        Fuck you, asshole, who the fuck are you to call us divisive?

      • by praxis ( 19962 )

        The character limit certainly hinders long, responses.

        Fixed that for you. Thinking thinks through works for short messages too. I'd argue that's when it's even more important.

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Have we really gotten *more* divisive though? I'd argue that there's always been some pretty harsh division going on, almost from the beginning. U.S. Senators and Congressmen used to actually threaten, and even literally cane each other bloody on the floor of their respective houses. Now that's what I call divisive and incendiary rhetoric.

        Bank of the United States, impinging the honor of Andrew Jackson's wife, politicians fighting duels to the death, Civil War, Gold Standard, Silver Standard, Isolationis

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:55PM (#35871114)

      People don't want to be improved. Twitter embraces that. Facebook too.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Someone refresh my memory on why something like twitter, starting from scratch in the smart phone era is STILL limited to 140 characters.

      Originally this was designed to allow tweets to fit inside of SMS messages, but nobody does that anyway. There is no inherent why twitter should have restrictive length limits.

      What twitter needs is a vapidity filter.

      • Agreed, but it's pretty much their only useful selling point. If they did away with the limit, Twitter would die a swift death.
    • The character limit has nothing to do with it. We can't even get reasoned debate on Slashdot. Every time one "side" of the debate starts looking good, the other side just starts making things up so they don't "lose". People who agree with the "losing" side of the debate mod posts up based simply on whether they says what they agree with, not on the strength of the argument or evidence provided. We see it regularly with debates about patents, copyrights, and global warming. I think even debates about evoluti
      • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:14PM (#35871436)

        It's an old internet tradition to take even mundane discussions, like your choice of editor, and turn them into a "holy war." This used to be done quite tongue-in-cheek but they've turned into actual holy wars by kids with a poor grasp of irony and even poorer reasoning skills. You can't debate with a religious fundamentalist who already knows The Truth.

      • I think it's quite reasonable to say that a "traditional scientific" approach is to have a strong argument. A "religious approach" is to use wishful thinking and emotions. A lot of people take that approach even outside of religion, so I guess it should just be called the "human approach".

        When you try to have any "reasoned debate" with anyone who isn't actually looking for a logical discussion and is just pushing an agenda that they want to be true.. well, there's just no point really. You might as well be

        • The problem is that most people arguing think they're being reasoned and that the other side is irrational. Regardless of the points actually being made. And into that inject self-righteousness and you get the garbage we see online, on both sides of any debate. Everyone thinks they're logical, reasonable and always right. They don't need to have their opinions challenges, in fact it's their duty to make everyone else change their minds.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          The problem is that both sides can be perfectly logical, but they start from different premises. That is where you run into trouble. If it has been stated that there is, for instance, a God who refuses to be tested, and that same God created everything and is all-powerful, there's nothing you can logically do to disprove that. Logic is just a system of determining the correctness of *argumentation*, not with the reality of resulting conclusions.

          Using logic on most religions is pointless because a perfect

          • Exactly, "a God who refuses to be tested, and that same God created everything and is all-powerful", is based on wishful thinking. When this god also condemns billions to hell without having had a chance of even knowing about him, it seems to me that this god is very likely to be man-made, or just makes him not worth worshipping in the first place. Also if you believe in evolution, when do you start introducing souls into living beings? Is every single celled organism given its own place in heaven or hell?

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        We can't even get reasoned debate on Slashdot.

        I think we can.

        In my experience, the moderation system works quite well. I also like that there's no option to delete anyone's comments from the discussion.

        You may be confusing the fact that you see comments that you disagree with, or comments that you find outright irrational, with the idea that you have to agree with those comments. On the contrary; you're free to read them, laugh, and disregard them completely.

        If seemingly irrational comments get modded to +5, feel free to chime in to differ.

        • by penix1 ( 722987 )

          In my experience, the moderation system works quite well.

          In my experience, it does NOT work quite so well. You are given mod points and the only place you can use them in is in conversations you wouldn't be interested in in the first place. I don't moderate because of this. If I find a story interesting enough, I post. Once posted to, you can't moderate in that topic so they are a waste of time. Far easier to just ignore posts that I don't care about.

      • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:21PM (#35871548) Journal

        Studies show that certainty is an emotion. Emotions are not arrived at through logical processes. People are not certain of what they know because it makes sense, they are certain of what they know because it feels good. Intellectual debate isn't intellectual. It is the same thing chimpanzees do, flinging poop at other chimps they don't like, only we use words.

        And obviously, when I say "people" bunratty, I don't mean you or I. I mean those other buffoons, over there. No, not you either, you look smart enough. You know. The ones who disagree with us. Those guys are like chimps flinging poo.

      • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:29PM (#35871668)
        The character limit has quite a bit to do with it. Twitter by design can never be anything more than a bumper sticker fight. If you want a respectful and thoughtful debate, well, honestly one of the few I can even think of is that between Robert Nozick and John Rawls, and that was conducted with entire books.

        As for group think, I can only offer the old platitude: be the change you want to see in the world. I won't positively mod stupidity even if its intent would be sympathetic to a position I hold. In fact, I get as much or more bothered by stupidity from "within" than "without" because I don't want some douche representing a good idea badly such that it turns people away.
      • by Larryish ( 1215510 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @03:13PM (#35872268)

        When people have knee-jerk reactions, agreeing with and liking what they already believe and rejecting what they don't want to believe, you can't have reasoned debate.

        Glen Beck says differently, ASSHOLE!

    • I find that the biggest barrier to a reasoned debate is time rather than space, restrictive though it may be. Everything goes so fast that there is pressure to react sooner rather than later without allowing time for reflection. People then fall back on popular "truths" that can quickly be thrown out there. You can see this on Slashdot too where people pounce on articles to post the established group-think for a quick '+5' (as well as the ubiquitous "frist psots".) Those who come relatively late to the deba

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:23PM (#35871582) Homepage

        You can see this on Slashdot too where people pounce on articles to post the established group-think for a quick '+5'

        Really? And here I thought posts kvetching about how anybody who agrees with prevailing opinion is just practicing groupthink was an ideal example of Slashdot groupthink.

    • We don't have reasoned debate in public sphere... not at this point in history.

      The human race is on an anti-rationalistic downturn. Public "debate" is simply invective and fact is routinely ignored. Twitter simply reflects this.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 )

      Actually, it's 140 characters.

      And Twitter isn't about reasoned debate. Or any debate. Twitter is about self-promotion. Either of your personality or your business. The entire reason for Twitter to exist is attention-whoring. Even people who might have great content to provide include so much self-whoring *noise* to the signal that it's worthless. I've tried following people on Twitter (well, RSS feeds of their Twitter feeds, because I don't want to use Twitter, itself) and even the most interesting people h

    • Precisely. Twitter is not a tool for debate, reasoned or not. It is a tool for spew.

    • nothing ruins debate like a rambling 5 paragraph diatribe. if a debate is limited to 140 characters, the quality of the debate would improve over endless rants

  • I am officially out of touch because "How do you design a form of Twitter, how do you change the retweet system, so that Twitter will end up gathering a body of reasoned debate?" made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Time to set up the rocking chair on the front porch I guess. Anyone got recommendations for a nice cane I can wave at the kids on my lawn?

    • by ameoba ( 173803 )

      I didn't know twitter was still (or ever really was) relevant outside of "new media" weenies with a perma-hardon for social media.

      • it's nice for aggregation and specific but fast messages, but otherwise 180 characters doesn't make anything truly useful. Twitter going "Anti-spam" and preventing how fast people can post updates has fucked over that whole "specific but fast messages" part, as well as generally twitter being flooded with way more traffic than they can handle.

      • by praxis ( 19962 )

        When NPR has twitter links on their stories I'm not sure one should consider twitter as only for "new media" weenies anymore. Like it or not, it's relevant today. I don't like it; I don't use it; but I'm not going to delude myself and pretend it is not relevant; it's relevant to many people.

    • Anybody know if [] has retweets? (Re-identica's?)

      Identica is Linux to Twitter's Windows, by the way.

    • I think it's TBL being out of touch, not you. He's the one who should get up and out of his rocking chair. Or not, I don't really care as I don't really consider him to be a thought leader in social media. He sounds more like a systems guy.
    • With all due respect to the man, I think you're more in touch than he is. Twitter is not, and could never be, an appropriate platform for "reasoned debate". That would be contrary to its design, purpose and success.

      He's right that Twitter is a shouting point for both banality and extreme statements. It abandons the middleground, because the middleground doesn't fit in 180 characters with a hashtag bandaid for the lack of design towards topics and focus. Nobody retweets reasoned, cautious and boring
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      You can wave your old, textless cell-phone at them.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:39PM (#35870828) Journal

    ...right at the hyphenated name. It's just a quirk of mine.

  • Networks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moderator ( 189749 ) *

    In my opinion, Facebook lost a lot of appeal when it opted to become network-transparent as opposed to a way to meet people who shared similar interests at your university / hometown. The selling point of Facebook over say, Myspace, was that Facebook was geared towards meeting new people at your school (and later in your city) who had similar interests. I met some of my best friends from the university through finding people with shared interests on Facebook six years ago. With my natural introversion, w

    •           s/meet/bang/g;

      Be honest - you started off on Facebook looking up the cutie from your Freshman Physics class, just like everybody else who joined Facebook when it was focused on networking with people "local" to you, even if you didn't know them personally.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Well... it's a two-way street. You get out what you put in. I got on Facebook because a lot of my friends who were geographically distant from me stopped sending email. If you wanted to hear from them casually, you had to be on Facebook. As a result, some of my friends who live here in town but are also on Facebook have "met" some of my geographically distant friends online. And consequently some of them have met in real life, occasionally when I'm not even around. I've also discovered that some casual acqu

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:40PM (#35870840) Homepage Journal
    Isn't nearly as easy to do as it is to say. The human race has sought out barriers to erect for as long as humans have been around. Even when people can't see one another physically, they will still seek out people with similar ideas and personality characteristics. You can force them into a large group of vary dissimilar people and in the end you'll find that group will still tend to segregate on some metric you didn't consider before.

    I'm not endorsing that kind of action, but it is how we behave as a species.
    • I think what you said is true, but simply amplifies the need for new approachews such as Berners-Lee is calling for.

      I don't like it when people say, "How dare you call me racist! Besides, racism is natural and normal!" Yes, it is natural and normal. That's why it's such a persistent problem throughout history, and why it takes energy to overcome. The same goes for every type of ignorance. All of us tend to be more comfortable with information that reinforces our opinions and self-image, but that's of

    • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:19PM (#35871496)

      I'm not endorsing that kind of action, but it is how we behave as a species.

      Really, I don't think that the tendency to "tribalize" is as poisonous as many people like to suggest. For instance, there's nothing *wrong* with a group of African, Mexican, Venezuelan, Chinese, Korean, French, etc., immigrants electing to live, work, and associate with one another. They have shared cultures, shared backgrounds, shared languages - these are the things we fashion bonds of friendship from.

      The real danger lies in the hardening of attitudes towards people outside your particular grouping that can come along with this tendency to segregate ourselves with like-minded people. Being open to meeting and learning from people outside your group without hostility is the key differentiator. Being *open* to diversity while tending to cluster together into groups with shared interests and values is a far better state of affairs than paying lip service to diversity while shouting down anybody who happens to disagree with or place different values on your tribe's shared values and interests.

  • Dude, chill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:41PM (#35870858) Journal

    Twitter is exactly what you make of it, for those who choose to follow you.

    It is exactly not a means for you to procure a distribution network for your opinions, with followers acting as distribution nodes at your behest.

    It isn't commanded, it is purely social. Those who wish to retweet your words will do so.

    And there are no barriers that you do not introduce yourself. If someone you want to follow is there, you can follow them, even @-reply to them and, if the probabilities and their opinion are willing, get a reply or a retweet from them. (All the better if you aren't begging openly to be retweeted.)

    Strong opinions affect a larger number of people. Weak or obvious ones don't induce the need to act. Sounds perfectly social to me.

    In other words, if you want the news media, you know where to find it, and how it works.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Indeed. The problem isn't Twitter, it's the twits on Twitter.

      • I heard a rumor that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were considering a social media merger. The new company would be called YouTwitFace.
  • Um (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:42PM (#35870872)

    Don't like it? Don't read it. No one is forcing little Timmy to read it. I've never had a twitter account or Facebook account and don't intend to. Of course, we could just "pass legislation" so that people can't say things we don't like. I'd rather just not click the fucking things personally.

    • Who said anything about "pass legislation"? That was quite a leap from "what can we do to encourage social interaction" to "gubment bad"!
  • by bbasgen ( 165297 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:43PM (#35870896) Homepage
    The slashdot commenting system is an excellent example of a model towards this solution.

    Users will always self-select to what interests them: we can't, and shouldn't, stop that. But taking the example of political news, what we can do with a reasoned comment system like /. is create some semblance of debate -- imperfect and problematic -- but far superior to what we currently see on news websites. The NY Times has done a decent job of this actually. Not a system as good as /., where users have a bit more investment in sticking around and not trolling since modding is done by the community and sticks with you, as opposed to the invisible hand system of the NY Times.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by inputdev ( 1252080 )
      And it's clearly not keeping users within their existing friend groups, since the number of posters vastly outnumbers the number of friends. :) In all seriousness, I find the comments on slashdot to be at least as informational as the news sources themselves, even if it is only one or two posts out of hundreds, I'm often able to find them, since they are appropriately modded up.
      • by ameoba ( 173803 )

        > I'm often able to find them, since they are appropriately modded up. ...or they parrot the already established group opinion.

        • ...or they parrot the already established group opinion.

          Is there any more efficient definition of social value?

      • I find the comments on slashdot to be at least as informational as the news sources themselves,

        I always find the comments more informative. Of course, I never read the articles.

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      Towards this solution, sure, in a very small increment.

      What needs to be engineered is a system for inheriting multiple flavors of trust, including meta-trust, and doing so mostly automatically with only occasional parameter tweaking by the user, along with a feedback mechanism that allows users to see their own influence plummet when they say dumb or sensationalistic crap.

    • The NY Times has done a decent job of this actually. Not a system as good as /., where users have a bit more investment in sticking around and not trolling since modding is done by the community and sticks with you, as opposed to the invisible hand system of the NY Times.

      There are several major flaws in the NY Times's online commenting system. They include:
      1. Vulnerability to a group of people with an axe to grind: It's relatively trivial to sign up a few hundred accounts and use them to independently recommend comments that support your political position, giving the impression that it has much more support than it really does.
      2. A high premium on being one of the first 15 posters to post, leading to people waiting until a story likely to be popular is posted and then scra

  • Much like his earlier creation, I have to assume the answer somehow involved large quantities of free porn...

  • by Geekenstein ( 199041 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:46PM (#35870958)

    With respect to TBL, he seems to be suggesting censorship. Twitter is designed to allow users to spew whatever arises in their minds, and to retransmit the ideas of others that you believe others should see. Who decides what's "reasoned debate" when it comes down to it?

    It's been shown that human nature gravitates towards sensationalism. The craziest of rumors always travel the fastest and the furthest. The free speech model of Twitter, for better or for worse, only amplifies this tendency by making so much easier for it to happen.

    Give everyone a soap box, and you get a lot of noise pollution.

    • With respect to TBL, he seems to be suggesting censorship

      I can see where one might see that, but I really don't think it's the case. Someone else mentioned that the SMS-like character limit isn't exactly conducive to reasoned debate as opposed to bullet points and sound bites.

      As far as I can see, though, the solution would involve addressing that issue, and designing a better class of human. I'm pretty sure only one or less of those will happen in the foreseeable future.

    • Well, for a start, you could redesign the service so it's not just a mini-soapbox for each user...

      I see his point, Twitter is designed in such a way that everybody does these little one-way bursts, and the only way to rise above the crowd and gain followers is to be more 'interesting' than everybody else, which will often take the form of being noisier, more outrageous, more controversial, more extreme.

      OTOH, that seems to be what people want. I mean, there's already alternatives in existence. I'm talking

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Twitter does allow one to break down barriers, and the internet has in general. Flame wars develop because people who ordinarily run in separate camps are put together and they have discussions. I don't think these are unhealthy, it is just that most people don't want the discussions to occur because they don't want to risk that their point of view is wrong. Try to argue with a so-called skeptic something that they believe is wrong. No matter what evidence, they will no change their mind.

      In this case

  • by CycleMan ( 638982 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:47PM (#35870970)
    We've heard this lament before: cable TV let the "PBS Liberals" and the "Fox Conservatives" go off in their cliques. Magazine subscriptions do the same thing, as does the telephone and postal mail. Sometimes I hear nostalgia for an earlier time when neighbors knew each other, and discussed the town's affairs in the barbershop and the coffee shop. The downside is that nobody could avoid the town nutcase, and anyone with an unusual opinion or lifestyle or medical condition was outside the mainstream enough to be relatively alone. The answer will not be found in technology itself, but in human motivations: what drives friendship, and common interests? Was there ever a time when politics and debate was conducted civilly?
    • by spasm ( 79260 )

      Exactly. The vicious persistence of both personal and institutional racism in small towns where 'everybody knows everybody' is a clear demonstration that just having 'neighbors know each other and discuss town affairs at the barbershop' doesn't necessarily produce civil or even sane discourse.

  • Stop following the idiots on twitter and realize it's NOT a debate forum. It's identical to the most useless form of news: the soundbyte.
  • What makes TBL think that most of the people using Twitter or Facebook are interested in reasoned debate? If that's what people were interested in, Twitter would already look like that.

    Twitter and Facebook are about sharing your "opinions" and updates with people who largely already agree with you ... you think the people following Rush Limbaugh on Twitter have differing points of view from him? Or that a bunch of angsty 16 year-old kids are looking for 'reasoned debate' or anything more than "going to th

  • USENET (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeRandomHacker ( 983775 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:56PM (#35871118)

    Anyone interested in designing a peer-to-peer analogue of USENET News?

  • He noted that Facebook-style networks kept users within their existing friend groups, and didn't 'stretch' them to meet new people. Berners-Lee asked how can we 'make use of the web so it connects people together and breaks down barriers more than it builds them up.'

    How is this any different than how people interact in the real world? I usually meet people through existing friends or through activities I participate in. Why does Tim think that the Internet would cause people to behave differently than in real life?

    about the only why I've seen the Internet change the way people behave is because the Internet offers a level of anonymity, which causes people to feel more free to state their true opinion, for good or bad. But I'm sure this isn't what Tim means when he talk

  • least not in the U.S.

    To have some sort of rational debate on twitter you have to have rational debate [full stop].

    We don't have rational debate at all in the U.S. right now. It's simply one logical fallacy after another which we call debate.

    Until we grow up enough to get past our anti-rationalist phase Tim's comment is rather moot.

  • and Berners-Lee, bless him, is trotting out an archaic idealistic vision that has long since died

    the debate, succinctly, is whether the Internet represents

    1. a library of philosophers dedicated to erudite passionate commentary on important issues of the day, culminating in a second Enlightenment of intellectual endeavor

    2. a bar at 3 AM, busy with drunks full of murderous rage and nonsensical babbling

    look at comments on youtube, or under any political blog, or heck, look at encyclopedia dramatica or fark or 4chan: it is clear that Berners-Lee's image of the Internet died in September of 1993 []

    there's nothing sadder than an old idealist, still believing in a utopian vision that died a long time ago, and will never exist

    • they killed encyclopedia dramatica, 3 days ago

      "oh internet"? wtf?! []

    • by doom ( 14564 )

      Meanwhile, here it the nominal real world, we have a problem with complicated political and commercial decisions that require a well-informed, intelligent citizenry to navigate... presuming we don't just write off the entire notion of a "government by the people", and so on.

      So on the one hand, you have whacky idealists who think that a reliable information architecture is part of the solution and on the other hand, we have you realistic fellows, with your grand vision of... what exactly? State-corporate

      • well, i was trying to be kind, but since you forced my hand:

        utopianists always fail. and they should always fail

        this isn't some empty cynical observation that the world can never be made better. progress is real in this world and i believe in progress

        it's more of a criticism that:

        1. the world isn't as bad as idealists think it is, and
        2. idealists mostly have ideas which actually make the world worse, despite all their good intentions, due to a failed ability to understand true human nature

        not that i underst

  • by rpresser ( 610529 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:16PM (#35871464) Homepage

    Reasonable people tend to NOT FUCKING CARE about internet debate. Instead they concentrate on their lives.

  • IMO, this is not a technical issue, it's a social issue that cannot be solved thru technical means. Twitter and Facebook are marketed to people who don't have time to create complex, nuanced opinion or the capacity to digest the same. Given that these same people have a degree of anonymity (their followers don't have the time/ability to track down the actual people behind the accounts) they are stuck in a vicious cycle of creating extreme opinions lest they alienate followers.

    Additionally, extreme opinions

  • Sure old slashcode. Before they broke it Slashcode rewarded successful posters, encouraged a tight knit community, did a good job of formulating the debate (full story) but didn't force it (just reading the summary. Knocked out trolls (-1) forced a decent contribution so people wouldn't join just to post on a hot button issue (+1 Karma Mod).
    Most important points were distributed by early users, this has the effect of insulating the community and maintaining it's original focus (news for nerds). It would be
  • But Mr. Berners-Lee hasn't made it clear weather he sees that 'foaming at the mouth' is just pressing a point that (you) or Mr. Berners-Lee don't agree with.

  • This article is a classic example of how bright people often fail to understand how the average person thinks. "You people aren't behaving the way I want you to behave! You need to do better!" Berners-Lee is wasting his breath, and really ought to know better himself.

    You want to create a "civilized" version of Twitter, Berners-Lee? Great, go ahead and create a Twitter that forces people into your desired mode of behavior. Of course, don't be surprised if no one wants to use it after you create it. Twi

  • Then social media is not the right forum for you. Try a properly-moderated old-fashioned message board for that.
  • He seems to be whining a lot lately about how people are "misusing" his invention.

  • >>Berners-Lee asked how can we 'make use of the web so it connects people together and breaks down barriers more than it builds them up.'

    It's a fascinating question. I would go as far as to say it is the quintessential question of the modern internet. I have been on discussion forums for well over 25 years (think Compuserve) . I have seen what makes forums work and what destroys them.

    Observation #1. Human beings are not particularly well equipped to participate in a group discussion without visual cu

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.