(Early 90s. Additional: 03/00)

lies, damn lies, and usenet.

 "Once individuals can add to the
 hypertext web by themselves - and by
 any account a posting to Usenet news          HYPER
 is a piece of that - then lies,
 half-lies, mistruths, mistakes, and
 all kinds of informed or misinformed
 opinions [will proliferate]."
     -- emv@msen.com (Edward Vielmetti)

Right, link explosion is a problem all
right.  But link filtering has got to
be at least a partial answer.  In my
example, for instance, I would be happy
if I could screen out all comments           Eric Drexler puts a lot of
except those made by accredited              emphasis on Fact Forums (a
physicists.                                  variation of Science Courts)
                                             and maybe that's a part
                                             of the answer, too.

And you know, as bad as usenet gets
sometimes, I think it's often superior
to conventional media because it's more
hypertextual.  To take an example close
at hand, when Ted Nelson was doing his
"World Enough" show, the San Jose
Mercury news published a review that
was *awful*.  The man clearly knew very
little about Nelson (certainly he'd
never read one of his books) and he
engaged in a really vicious, killer
review, no better than a usenet flame.

But at least with usenet, *someone*
would argue with the flamer.  Every
blatant untruth is usually immediately
followed by a counter-argument, and a
threaded newsreader like nn or gnus
brings the two very close together.

         And just as clearly, a system
         like the WWW is inferior to
         this respect to usenet, since
         counter-arguments are not
         automatically brought close to

         However, I do think it's
         it's of some value that the
         Web is *obviously* unreliable,
         unlike the major media which
         is pretty clearly just as bad,
         but expends some effort to
         hide the fact...