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 Post subject: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Nick Cohen writes a thought-provoking piece on the role of the internet and freedom of speech in this week's edition of Standpoint magazine. Amongst the passages which stood out was this ...

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:50 pm 
This is a bit silly. Since when did Guido make the slightest claim to be a right-wing political blogger ?


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:19 pm 
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sdfghujik wrote:
This is a bit silly. Since when did Guido make the slightest claim to be a right-wing political blogger ?


I am not sure what Guido claims to be ... he has some pretensions of being a libertarian, I think ... but the Tories seem to think otherwise, seeing as he is on the "Blue Blog" blogroll and the other "mainstream" tory blogs. Insofar as he is an "attack dog" for the right (of centre), that makes him an honorary member of the "right wing" tribe. The content is more important than the label. If the tin contains cat food, I wouldn't recommend having it on toast even if the label says "baked beans".

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:35 pm 
Nick Cohen is a terrible writer.


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:47 pm 
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Git wrote:
Nick Cohen is a terrible writer.


Do you mean in a technical sense, or what he writes about?

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:01 pm 
Weird, I always received the impression Guido was a Libertarian...


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:08 pm 
I'm not sure I quite agree with the piece. It strikes me as a little simple minded in its approach rather like a soundbite essay editorial conveniently packaged for instant consumption. I would expect the same from some middle aged man who is somewhat technophopic and that little piece would suit him fine as an instant opinion to be told in the golf club bar. I sense some bitterness in your writing on this topic. I know that as of late there has been some back biting with you and other bloggers Guido, Devils kitchen to name but two and perhaps this has coloured your vision. Nothing is perfect and let's face it blogging, tweeting (which I personally hate) and all manner of new ways to put forward ones opinions is quite new and has yet to mature. Perhaps it never will in fact it never will as long as people exist to express themselves.
I note, by the way, when the climategate saga began you seemed over cautious in your approach, some would even say sneery. Perhaps that would have been the time to wait and form an opinion on the matter than merely reacting the way you did so early in the day.
In terms of tribalism have you considered the possiblity that you, yourself, represent a tribe - the tribe of this website which, I might add is an excellent source of information?
In the end there is alot of rubbish out there but label all those who fall into the category described by Nick Cohen in the way he does is simply wrong. Indeed Nick Cohen is guilty of all the things that he accuses others of doing. Perhaps He got out of bed the wrong side before He wrote his piece.


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:28 pm 
I get the feeling that Guido will be as hard on the Conservatives for their failures should they get into government as he is on Labour (and Libdems). I would expect nothing less. I do not expect political argument from Dale, Guido or Devils Kitchen, we are supposed to have the MSM for that although they are not very good at the moment.

I think most people treat most blogs like reading the Sun or Daily Mail. It is good entertainment and a change from the more serious parts of the MSM. Some blogs are more for information and opinion such as your own which I consider to be required reading, but this is a bit tribal as you mostly reflect my views. WUWT is in the same.

We as a people are not that good at everyday political argument. Perhaps because we don't have much on the net reflects a lack of interest in it.

Keep up the good work.


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:32 pm 
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Bruno Flake wrote:
I'm not sure I quite agree with the piece. It strikes me as a little simple minded in its approach rather like a soundbite essay editorial conveniently packaged for instant consumption. I would expect the same from some middle aged man who is somewhat technophopic and that little piece would suit him fine as an instant opinion to be told in the golf club bar. I sense some bitterness in your writing on this topic. I know that as of late there has been some back biting with you and other bloggers Guido, Devils kitchen to name but two and perhaps this has coloured your vision. Nothing is perfect and let's face it blogging, tweeting (which I personally hate) and all manner of new ways to put forward ones opinions is quite new and has yet to mature. Perhaps it never will in fact it never will as long as people exist to express themselves.
I note, by the way, when the climategate saga began you seemed over cautious in your approach, some would even say sneery. Perhaps that would have been the time to wait and form an opinion on the matter than merely reacting the way you did so early in the day.
In terms of tribalism have you considered the possiblity that you, yourself, represent a tribe - the tribe of this website which, I might add is an excellent source of information?
In the end there is alot of rubbish out there but label all those who fall into the category described by Nick Cohen in the way he does is simply wrong. Indeed Nick Cohen is guilty of all the things that he accuses others of doing. Perhaps He got out of bed the wrong side before He wrote his piece.


I agree with some of the piece, and - as I indicated - his conclusion. And you're probably right to say that my own experience of the net colours my view of the blogosphere. I wouldn't say "bitterness" though ... more disappointment and frustration. I would like to see the blogosphere achieve so much more than it has - and deplore the over-emphasis on "personality politics" devoid of substance.

Perhaps though, I give Cohen marks because his is an analytical piece ... slightly different in tenor from the "ya-boo-sucks" dismissive approach of some of the earlier MSM writers. I think he is right to identify the tribalism that is developing, and it is a pity that it is, because the internet is the ideal medium for individual expression. I suppose that is what grabbed me about the piece.

That said, you are also probably right that EUREF has become a sort of "tribe" ... certainly the forum is a "tribe" of sorts ... although there is the difference in that the web allows membership of many such tribes simultaneously.

Robertm wrote:
We as a people are not that good at everyday political argument. Perhaps because we don't have much on the net reflects a lack of interest in it.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks! And yes, you're dead right. We are not very good at everyday political argument ... and that is what is missing. Maybe my expectations are too high, in that I want to see arguments developed and genuine discourse.

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:39 pm 

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Yes,there are many tribes here.But the reality is there are hundreds of blogs which have contributors and commenters who are highly intelligent and have something worthwhile to say.The problem is that there isn't the time to do all of them justice.That said the quality descends very quickly, particularly of the commentators.Those who can't recognise the difference btween cant and sensibility will get no more from the net than they would from the MSM,which is a lowest common denominator product. For the competent intellectual , the net is the place to go for ideas and information.

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:49 pm 
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renminbi wrote:
Yes,there are many tribes here.But the reality is there are hundreds of blogs which have contributors and commenters who are highly intelligent and have something worthwhile to say.The problem is that there isn't the time to do all of them justice.That said the quality descends very quickly, particularly of the commentators.Those who can't recognise the difference btween cant and sensibility will get no more from the net than they would from the MSM,which is a lowest common denominator product. For the competent intellectual , the net is the place to go for ideas and information.


Yes, I agree ... there is some startlingly good material on the net ... and equally some extremely good material on the forum. There have been many attempts to corral that output and bring it to a wider audience, but trying to organise bloggers is not dissimilar to herding cats. Certainly, there is no correlation between quality and hit-rate. Some superb blogs languish with daily hit-rates in the low hundreds. In that sense, I have an incoherent view of the web ... entirely unsupportable ... in that I harbour the fantasy that "quality will out". It doesn't in real life, so that I should expect it to happen on the blogosphere is unfathomable. But what is life if not the pursuit of unattainable fantasies?

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:57 am 
Human beings are fallible. Democracy implies the including of the foolish, the noisy, the stupid as well as the intelligent and the constructive.

The blogosphere extends politics, extends the size of the claques and draws in participants of all kinds.

The twittersphere caused the Sovereignty Of Parliament to be defended recently by many people who had only the faintest idea what the Sovereignty of Parliament might be. There are signs of hope.

Why not look at people as just joining the political world as of now. The blogosphere can catch many more, educate and involve, and turn the bedlam into effective campaigning. A sculptor sees not the rough piece of stone he must cut, but the Adonis he will create. You must increase your powers of persuasion, Richard, not complain that people, like the stone, are hard to persuade. Did the French Revolutionaries send the mob home because they were not washed? NO. They rallied them and overthrew the aristocracy.

The problem now is the media. We have to compete and to win. Less time spent on complaining at the difficulty of the task, and more spent in launching successful initiatives is recommended. The unwashed will overpower all once they are fired up and see the way to go. It's our job to find that and give it to them. The skills of the copy writer are as important as the scientist and the historian, and those of leadership. If you can translate the wrongness of what you describe into popular anger, with suitable headlines, or by association with popular figures who agree with you, or whatever other techniques (focus group) are available, you will win.

Often there is more interplay in the comments on blogs than in the posts, more attempts to build movement or to crush the hopes of others. There is energy. There is interest. The people who see how to harness it all will be the Bonapartes of the future. Guido is half way there. It's just that he has no strategy other than to build traffic. Dale wants to join the 'aristocracy' and so can hardly make a rebel. If the analytical skill of a North, combined with the rabble-rousing talents of a Guido, then you would see a phoenix arise from the ashes. At the moment you all fight from separate corners. But one day the Napoleon of the Blogosphere will rise.


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:39 am 
Jesus wept!
This article and the post on it sums up neatly why Guido has far more readers than Mr Cohen or Mr North. I'd rather have Guido to a dinner party and my suspicion would be to avoid these odd bedfellows like the plague......


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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:21 am 
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Don wrote:
Jesus wept!
This article and the post on it sums up neatly why Guido has far more readers than Mr Cohen or Mr North. I'd rather have Guido to a dinner party and my suspicion would be to avoid these odd bedfellows like the plague......


I believe The Sun website has even more readers ... clearly we're all missing a trick.

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 Post subject: Re: The tyranny of the net
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:26 am 

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sdfghujik wrote:
This is a bit silly. Since when did Guido make the slightest claim to be a right-wing political blogger ?



Sorry, that was me ... too lazy to log in again.
I guess Guido might be right wing in the BBC sense of the term - i.e., right wing = doesn't agree with us = bad, nasty, evil, probably a sexual pervert (though we haven't found any evidence yet) ...


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