Saturday, April 14, 2007


I have often been amazed and amused at the synchronous flow of ideas in the human consciousness, that the internet information flow now allows us to observe. That is, how a sequence of seemingly unrelated news events in the real world have their implications put together to form the same coherent conclusion, by several observers at about the same time.

I also see it in the search terms driving traffic (such as it is) to my site, that often come in odd flurries of very similar terms from all over the world within a short period of time -- reflecting that subset of questions buzzing around out there that can be answered by my archives! Yesterday, unsurprisingly, everyone was searching for "nappy-headed hos."

Sometimes the word combinations of the search terms are so unusual that it's hard to believe several people just came up with them all independently at the same time, yet that's what happens; for example, I had about half a dozen visitors from widely seperate locations last week all searching for "conundrum solved by Alexander"; what's up with that?

And I was just discussing how civility and good judgment need to be developed from within, not imposed by authoritarian virtue police; and that narcissism and immaturity are deep flaws in our society.

And here someone else is saying the exact same thing:
04.12.07 | 2:00 AM
Civility? They're proposing a code of conduct for the blogosphere to ensure civility online?

Who's kidding who here?

Before you can expect a bunch of utterly spoiled, self-indulgent bloggers (i.e. the kind who indulge in their online mudslinging) to practice civility, you might try restoring a bit of it to what passes for civilization these days.

Civility is all about self-restraint. It's not about being told by someone else to say "no," but finding the inner resolve to say it to yourself. Call it self-discipline. Call it having a little class. Whatever name you give it, it's almost completely absent from modern society.

And in a culture where idolatry of the crass and vulgar encourages the mantra of instant gratification and me-so-important, what the hell do you expect?

Which is why Tim O'Reilly's proposal for a code of conduct won't fly.

Unfortunately, you can't just pass a bunch of rules to make incivility go away. Someone who has been getting his way since he was 2 and has grown up into a self-involved, bombastic narcissist isn't going to have a come-to-Jesus moment just because he's offended somebody's sense of etiquette.


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