The Wired.com site recently posted an article titled Why the Trolls Will Always Win.
I do not agree with the conclusion stated in the title of the article. I believe that the trolls responsible for the 12-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies will LOSE big time when their prison sentences are announced following the next price crash. I believe that, when that happens, legislation will be passed making clear that site owners are responsible for crimes and torts committed at their web sites, especially when those crimes and torts are committed through violations of the published rules of the site and when the owners of the sites are aware that the published rules have been violated and yet have failed to take effective action. I see the internet discussion board as a powerful communications medium of the future that will not realize its potential until the internet is opened to the millions of good and smart people who would be happy to make positive contributions if the lowest of the low among us were reined in.
That said, Kathy Sierra is as much an expert on the insanity of internet Goons as I am. She has earned a right to her opinion on these matters, she states her opinion intelligently and fairly, and I believe that all of us concerned about the future of the internet should be paying attention to her words and to the words of the thousands (!) who posted comments in response to her article.
Re the words quoted in my headline, what is going on here is that the internet has the capacity to enhance all of our lives in very important ways. That’s obviously a good thing. But advances are always going to be perceived as threats to those who see themselves being left behind. It is the power of the internet to do so much good that causes the Goons to feel such intense hatred toward those who employ it for constructive and positive and life-affirming purposes. Those who think that the internet can achieve its potential without us all working together to see that the laws of the United States and the rules of the boards and blogs at which we post are applied on it are ignoring a dark side of human nature that has been present since the first day and that in the past has always been reined in by good and responsible people.
That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.