Subject: Re: near/medium future digital media economics
From: "Ben Tilly" <btilly@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 10:55:13 -0700

 Fri, 19 May 2006 10:55:13 -0700
On 5/19/06, Stephen J. Turnbull <stephen@xemacs.org> wrote:
> >>>>> "Ben" == Ben Tilly <btilly@gmail.com> writes:
>
>     Ben> On 5/18/06, Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net> wrote:
>
>     >> Now, if said experts could more easily go momentarily sandbox
>     >> themselves, work stuff out, and put up a face -- then we'd be
>     >> back in network territory.
>
>     Ben> This is not how opposing camps have *ever* settled their
>     Ben> differences.  Unless you change human nature, this won't be
>     Ben> how they do it in the future either, no matter how cool a
>     Ben> communication technology they have.
>
> I really can't be that cynical.  Until now, soapboxes have been
> expensive.  Even a mailing list historically required some management,
> and today spam may actually make that burden heavier than before.  It
> is not obvious to me that people will not learn to accept that it
> really is a matter of who's interesting and who's not, rather than
> cliques controlling the important channels.

I can be that cynical.  I've read Kuhn and agree with his basic point.
 I've also had enough arguments with Creationists to understand that,
in the end, most people don't really pay attention to facts.

Oh, and I don't think of this as cynicism, I think that it's an
inevitable result of how people learn about the world that it is
easier to pay attention to content that agrees with what we already
think than it is to pay attention to that which challenges our
beliefs.  All the rest falls out of that.

> Sure, some people will continue to insist that the world is conspiring
> to hide their light under a bushel, and some people will take their
> unpopularity personally, but some---enough to matter---will get the
> idea that they need to think about what they're saying and to whom
> they want to say it.  The cool kids will go off and play with each
> other.

The people who feel that way shall, I believe, always be a small
minority.  A very *important* small minority, mind you.  (That
minority has been responsible for an ever-accelerating rate of change
in our lives.)  But still a minority.

>     Ben> Also note that people participating in collaborative content
>     Ben> are hardly experts.
>
> Wikipedia, yes.  But most experts collaborate heavily on the content
> they produce (consider those physics papers where there are more
> characters in the author list than in the whole report); they just are
> very selective about their collaborators.

Point.

However note that this example illustrates the natural fragmentation
of the market for collaborative content - with experts naturally
seeking to find each other and exclude people who have not bothered to
gain expertise.  This fragmentation alone is enough to challenge the
viability of Tom's vision.

Cheers,
Ben