March 31st, 2005

  • evan

crankiness & sleaziness

For some reason, certain technologies and cultures make me vaguely and intensely angry for a reason I can't quite pin down. I think it has something to do with how close I am to the group -- that I can know it well enough to really understand its failures. "Blogging" is a good example: I worked with LiveJournal, and I'm now friends with a lot of the Blogger guys and I think they're rad people, but somehow the whole scene just makes me cross. Every so often I look at Winer's blog and I think to myself: this guy is such a moron, why does anybody read it? And I realize that I'm reading it myself and I get doubly angry. (People at work ask me: why don't you work on Blogger, given your background? I answer: I came here to get away from all of that.)

There's an entirely different level of anger, more a moderate sense of distaste, that I have for all of the other things that generally suck but are expected to: y'know, Microsoft products, AOL, etc. This is how I feel about web spam, too: it sucks, but it sucks in the way getting your car robbed sucks. The people who create web spam are ruining the web and it's lame like vandalizing a park is lame, but life is full of lame people.

This is why I'm not up in arms about the Wordpress guy spamming. This whole culture of links indicating trust is something that comes from the search engines, not because links are inherently votes themselves. And sure, getting involved with spammers means that search engine algorithms will classify you as a spammer as well, but that only seems reasonable: it's all within this created economy of search engine traffic.

So I look at it not like it's some bank manager running off with his clients' money, but just as some guy doing something generally sleazy, y'know, pasting up ads on telephone poles. And sure, that's scummy, and it's more offensive to me personally because it's scummy to the web and I care about the web, but it's scummy in the way vandals are scummy and doesn't make as angry as, say, the fact that the program itself is written in PHP.