Posted by: CJ | February 6, 2010

Seepage

I have a theory about a consequence of the internet on specialized discussions. I think the internet makes it easiest for some online communities to conduct their discussions in the open, but that it leads to seepage to other communities. This could particularly be a problem when a discussion out in the open isn’t appropriate for the topics or points of view that must be discussed.

However, it’s hard to think of examples on the internet where this is actually a problem. Most people want more readers, want to be linked to, etc. And most writers on the internet aren’t pushovers when someone needs to be told they’re wrong. So my theory seems to lack any empirical verification.

On the other hand, Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias have convinced me this is a problem for C-Span. Most people certainly dislike the idea of smoky back-room deals. But I have to wonder if it’s an unavoidable element of representative democracy. Unfortunately, that would mean having faith that people of good conscience being around to leak what’s going on if there might be a problem.

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