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<nettime> A Modest Proposal
Bruce Sterling on Sat, 17 Jun 2006 13:58:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> A Modest Proposal

John Battelle, the "band manager" for the explosively popular  
boingboing.net, is considering installing a collaborative web filter  
on his blog "Searchblog."

Why should nettime find this of any relevance?  Well, Nettime is
of  course a collaborative web filter, but has always done this
work by  hand.  That is, nettime has done it by hand until the
moderators'  tempers flare and raw compassionate-fatigue sets in.
We've seen the results of this in  the meta-discussion of the
past weeks, and frankly, it's been kind of  pitiful.

I have absolutely no intention of volunteering to read nettime's  
slushpile -- I know that I ought to, but that means volunteering to  
go personally stand in the trenches of the Somme under a hail of  
mechanized artillery.  However, a new kind of heavy armor has  
recently been invented. I think there may be some tactical-media  
daylight here.  If nettime had originated today,  nettime would quite  
obviously be a Web 2.0-style digg or reddit collaborative web filter  
instead of some hand-crafted email relic.

Somebody somewhere is pretty much sure to take this inventive step,  
and if you click on this link at the bottom of my rant, you can see  
Battelle kinda standing on the brink and testing the waters right  
now. Collaborative web filters are stupid machines (as Jaron Lanier  
points out).  They're only as good as the communities that run them  
and use them, and since they're mostly run by heavily-bearded open- 
source geeks, they're still mostly full of tedious slashdot drivel.   
Nettime, unlike Slashdot, has some no-kidding Stakhanovite-Precariate  
intelligentsia in it, so a properly designed nettime news-ranking  
engine would probably imperialistically rule the technocultural  

Of course, this gaudy tech-fix may be a tad too "California Ideology"  
for the goofy leftists of nettime, but hey, at least that prospect  
would give us something exciting to talk about that hasn't been  
repeatedly chewed for years.

Bruce Sterling, the very first American ever to join the nettime list


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