Home About

Shout-out for a Common Web

Fred Wilson writes about how smartphones and watches are shaping a Personal Cloud that might be the next step in the evolution of the Internet.

Meanwhile Brewster Kahle, of the Internet Archive, calls for a new distributed Web. He describes obstacles and problems with the current web and brings up a number of technologies that could form the basis of a peer-to-peer infospace.

Hossein Derakhshan, aka Hoder – supreme blogger of Iran, writes “The Web We Have to Save”. Released from prison where he spent 6 years convicted of blogging and helping others publish their thoughts online, he now laments the web he used to know, pre- iPhone, and asks all of us to save it, especially the hyperlink. You should read the whole piece, it’s a good analysis of the problems we face online today.

Finally, Doc Searls writes Privacy is Personal about Agency and Scale:

All of us have something to hide, or we wouldn’t wear clothes — to cover, among other things, what we call our “privates”.
Clothing and shelter are privacy technologies. They involve tools — clothing, doors, windows — that give us agency and scale. These tools have been well developed and understood for thousands of years. Our civilization is based on those understandings.
So the real privacy challenge is simple one. We need clothing with zippers and buttons, walls with doors and locks, windows with shutters and shades — that work the same for each and all of us, to give us agency and scale.

Very good. You really should read each link above, they’re super high quality.

But…all these really smart people miss something important. No I shouldn’t blame them, they probably weren’t aiming for the same thing as me. But anyway, the web we have today is constrained by ownership, web sites controlling the information they publish.

– Yes, that would be normal, you say, that’s how the web works mate.
– And my reply is, it doesn’t have to be that way, we can change it.

We’re so used to web sites and apps that it’s hard to see a solution based on common ownership. I’ll try to show what can be done when we publish things without claiming ownership. This site is a publishing tool, a blogging platform if you like, where

(the Internet’s three virtues from the World of Ends manifesto)

and if you signup and start publishing, you contribute to a common web, that both you and I can use and re-use, improve and share.

 

The Receiving End

What does it mean to be at the receiving end of a web page?

Normally it means you’re in my hands, I (the web master) call the shots and decide what links you (the web surfer) get to click, accessing a printer-friendly format, the size of this text, shit like that.

That’s not the web I want. That’s not how humans relate to each other. We’re equals and the web should reflect that. You should be in charge of documents that interest you. You should have the right to all documents just like me and I shouldn’t be able to decide what you can or can’t do with a document.

When you publish a document here you give rights to those at the receiving end. People are free to read or listen, share and remix any document. We’re all in charge. We all have the right to use this information freely.

If you’re like me and believe we’ll all be better off with a common web where we share and build on each others efforts, go ahead and take this document and make something beautiful. Or take all the documents published here and make them better!

Photo: By Cpl Jody Lee Smith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.