Re: WWW representation of Real World? (I hope not)

From: Skye (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 15:58:07 MST

oh... I didn't get to see your web site:(. Well, sad
to hear that you're shutting it down anyways- so far,
in my much shorter experience of the web in general, I
have had a fairly pleasant experience- probably mainly
because the guestbook on my page has only been working
for a few days, from the sound of it, though:). I
hope your jadedness at least simmers itself out a
little bit- there are "good" people on the web, but
sometimes it does dehumanize things quite a bit.

--- Amara Graps <> wrote:
> Dear Extropes,
> I am wondering how representative is the World Wide
> Web of what
> exists in the Real World? Do you think that the way
> that people
> behave in that medium is representative of their
> behavior in real
> life? I have participated in that "experiment" for
> the last 5 years
> by providing a large Web site with very valuable
> content (so I was
> told), and after these years, it's time for me to
> take a break from
> the Web for a while. I'm really cynical and jaded
> and disappointed
> in what I've learned about people who use the Web,
> so it's time to
> stop, and be "empty", in that Zen way. I reached a
> kind of
> saturation point, I think.
> Today, I wiped my Web site clean. All 25 Mb and 300+
> files. I didn't
> give notice or put forwards on any of my pages, and
> I know that a
> few thousand people today (and every day for a
> while) may be a
> little bit unhappy.
> One of my largest disappointments with the Web, was
> that folks who
> visited and wrote me often didn't connect that there
> is a real live
> human being, with a real life on the other side of
> those pages. They
> seldom were considerate or courteous. Since 90% of
> the folks that
> wrote me, wanted me to do something for them (help
> them with their
> homework, help them with their research project,
> give them other
> information, etc.), I would say that at least half
> didn't bother to
> address me by my name (those of you who saw my site
> know that my
> name was everywhere), or sign their own name, or
> even say "please".
> Many people also mistakenly thought that, because my
> Web pages were
> there for their use, that _I_ was a free resource
> for them too. One
> (college-age, I would say) person who wrote me a
> couple of years
> ago, bluntly told me: "You should add compression
> links to your
> wavelet pages". When I wrote him back and said that
> "if he pays me a
> lot of money, I will consider it", he sent me an
> indignant letter
> telling me how rude I was! I've also faced strangers
> calling me, or
> showing up at my door with their questions that they
> wanted me to
> answer. I know that the proper response is: "My
> hourly fee is
> $XMegaBucks", perhaps we can discuss it then", but I
> was so
> surprised by their actions that I became flustered
> and annoyed, and
> I didn't think of a good response fast enough. I
> never thought that
> folks would have that audacity, yet they did.
> Even when I made it quite clear in several texts at
> my site that I
> didn't have the "resources" (time, money, my old
> repetitive strain
> injury limited my computer usage, etc.), I still
> received alot of
> queries for my help. I suppose that those folks were
> in too much of
> a rush to read that, or to care.
> Last year I put notice on some of my more active
> pages that I needed
> donations to help me with costs, since I am living
> on a student
> stipend, and it was difficult to maintain the pages.
> Out of the
> 100,000 or so visits since I added my notice, only 6
> people have
> donated money (none from any of the very wealthy
> corporations that I
> know use my site). While I am very appreciative of
> those 6 people's
> donations, something seemed really wrong with this.
> Since I considered my Web pages the "shape" I gave
> myself in the
> World Wide Web, I always wondered what was "enough"
> information to
> give for my purposes, and what was "too much". The
> phrase "the map
> is not the territory" seems particularly apt. I
> encountered some
> situations where some people figured that they
> "knew" Amara enough
> from my pages, and didn't need to ask me questions
> and learn in real
> life, who Amara was, and they proceeded to judge and
> criticize.
> In my opinion, those actions were laziness or
> fear-based, but those
> actions caused me quite a bit of grief, anyway. So I
> caution folks
> about how many "pointers" to give about oneself on
> their Web pages.
> And if you are as "open" as I am, then maybe the
> World Wide Web is
> the wrong forum, or maybe you should just provide a
> minimal
> information.
> I have to say that I really like how the Web enables
> people to meet
> each other from far-away places, but I also wonder
> if this extra
> media layer promotes a less-than-honest
> representation of oneself. I
> confess that I have a soft spot for bright,
> interesting people, who
> are offering me interesting conversational topics,
> stories, poetry,
> gifts...:-) , if I have the time, or I'm in town,
> etc. in order to
> read their messages, but I've encountered more than
> my share of
> people (OK, men), who don't describe who they are
> accurately, or who
> are unable to state what they want and need, even
> when I ask direct
> questions (and I am very direct). Several times I
> found myself in
> pretty painful situations because of that
> dishonesty. (Sometimes, I
> think that I'm too naive for the Web, or maybe even
> for the real
> world. That's why astronomy is a good field for me
> :-))
> So while I hear about all of you transhumans "moving
> on up" and
> getting your positions and places visible on the
> World Wide Web,
> here is one jaded extrope who is "moving on out" and
> taking a break
> from the Web for a while.
> Amara
> Amara Graps email:
> Computational Physics vita: finger
> Multiplex Answers
> "If you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss also
> gazes into
> you." - -Nietzsche
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