2 thoughts on “Wikipedia = Groupthink, By Jaron Lanier

  1. Richard Dooling Post author

    Jon,

    I agree with you, but I’m always a sucker for a devil’s advocate and a contrarian, so I posted a link to Lanier’s piece.

    Thanks for the wikipedia entry.

    rd

  2. Jon Meyers

    As the author of your own brief–and, yes, bland–Wikipedia entry (built mostly from information from your site), I think Lanier is more than a bit overwrought on this subject. First, not all group projects are insidious. Many fine and useful things have been achieved by groups. And second, it’s not a case of either/or. The Web is large; it contains multitudes. There is plenty of room for both individual expression and large-scale, group works. And each can be either constructive and worthwhile or destructive and harmful. Individualism is a good thing, but its flipside can be egotism, nihilism, or anarchy. Groupthink is undoubtedly a bad thing, but its flipside can be humility, humaneness, and cooperation. I think the meanness Lanier finds spreading through the Web is as much a product of unchecked egotism as it is of “anonymous mob-like commentary.” Even Lanier, I think, is a bit unclear about his feelings on this issue: In one place, he praises the variety of videos available at YouTube, then later he bashes YouTube’s business model, which is what makes these videos available in the first place (somebody’s got to pay for all that bandwidth).

Comments are closed.