The O'Reilly Factor

The guardians of the blogosphere are up in arms over my dismissal of the nannying instincts of Tim O'Reilly:

O'Reilly has been a veteran of more phases of internet culture than you're even aware of. You're a late-comer to this party, my friend, and you probably should do some homework. Tim witnessed the development of the current rhetorical tone on the internet as USENET (do you remember USENET?) transformed from a collaborative media for researchers, to a generally thoughtful meta-forum for discussing a variety of topics of interest, into a trash-talking, low-signal, spam-ridden wasteland. Blogging itself was a response - a kind of diaspora - from that culture.

Attacking Tim like this without understanding the historical position that blogs played within the context of other computer-mediated discourse is embarrassing. As in, "I didn't know Paul McCartney used to be in a band!" embarrassing.

I was unaware that such authority figures counted for something in the blogosphere; unaware that there was a hierarchy of authorities within it; unaware that due deference is owed to such luminaries. But clearly, deference is due. I bow down before it; and urge all to pursue only constructive interaction as pioneered by USENET in its glory days before all these hideous naifs trashed the place with their freedom of speech.