Paul Ford on the web-ness of the web

(WWIC is short for Why wasn't I consulted?)

So what kind of medium is the web if the boundaries are so unclear, and if the fundamental question is WWIC? This is from an interview with MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey:

What makes MetaFilter a success?

Matt: I'd like to think it's intense moderation and customer service.

That is the point that I am trying to make. The web is not, despite the desires of so many, a publishing medium. The web is a customer service medium. “Intense moderation” in a customer service medium is what “editing” was for publishing.

This is part of what “feels” so wrong about publishing without comments and discussion. Yes, your site is your site. You get to control every single pixel. Good for you. But a webpage isn’t a book or a column or anything else from the old world. Forever closing your eyes and trying to pretend that you can fit square pegs into round holes won’t ever change that.

I never felt physically bothered when there was no “contact this author” button when I read an article or book offline. I never felt the need or want or desire or right to converse with them in public with their readers or contribute something to an article they wrote. But the web is different. It just is. We bring different expectations and it creates and engenders different feelings and expectations as well. Fleeing to silos like Twitter and Google+ and Facebook is a complicated issue I’ll have to get to some time in more depth. All I can say now is, you get no guarantee or expectation of permanancy or control from things you don’t pay for. Ads and corporate strategies for platforms you don’t have a say in both coarsen and cheapen your presence and contribution there at best and completely derail what you are trying to do there in someone else’s favor at worst.

I know, propose, inspire and build better tools. Complainers are a dime a dozen. It’s also important to get to the root of the problems, to research things before and problems that seem to re-occur. Now is still the research stage.