In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland says
The revolutionary public space that online debate represents is in danger of becoming stale and claustrophobic
It’s a longish piece that is a bit like one of my terrible college essays, on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand, but the overall message comes out, sort of, at the end:
Right now, the internet is too often like a stuffy meeting room on a bad night. It needs to change if it’s to live up to its democratic potential.
Oh for crying out loud.
This seems a ludicrous generalisation that bears no relationship at all to the extraordinary diversity of material available to me online.
But this kind of vapid generalisation provides the step for others to clamber onto the moral high horse, and say that “something must be done”. To which I say (not to Freedland but to the code-of-conduct bores generally), bollocks. If you want to indulge in control freakery, go cover up some piano legs with doilies.
If you want to change the way you manage your own tiny piece of the wonderfully vast net, go right ahead. If you want to host a party for all the other neurotic control freaks who share your dismal view I can’t stop you. You know what? After a while, even your polite civility-fest will break down into disorder, thank God.
It’s like watching the feeblest presentations to the Dragons Den. I hate that show, but on this occasion, I’ll pinch their catchphrase and offer it to the code-of-conduct brigade: I’m out.