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PREAMBLE

This webpage will discuss (what I believe to be) the ideal form of the World Wide Web. Keep in mind this page may be modified in the case of grammatical mistakes, fleshing our ideas, etc. However, the core ideas here will remain intact. Note I will not be discussing the economic or political aspects of the web. I am not very well-read or exposed to that type of stuff, so I see no need to seem more ignorant than I already am.*

CORE IDEA

The web should be an environment which promotes and nurtures a free flow of information and expression. In other words, the web should act as a tool for the individual to share ideas with others, without censorship or other inhibitions from any third party.

WHY THE "CURRENT WEB" FAILS

1. "CURRENT WEB" vs. WEB 2.0

One should make a distinction between the "current web" and web 2.0. Web 2.0 is essentially a collection of websites which provide applications with simple user interfaces to create content. The content the user creates is then sent to a database and the content is distributed through the website (e.g. on a forum you can create a thread which contains content you wrote and others can view or add to the thread through the forum's website). Web 2.0 differs from static websites because there is an aspect of interactivity, where users other than the webmaster are able to modify the website in some way. The "current web" can be thought of as a subset of Web 2.0 with a focus on data aggregation and minimized expression. It is no secret that most of these Web 2.0 services which function off advertising revenue will do all in their power to corner the market and carelessly manipulate their users to maximize profit. Further, due to data surveillance, individuals may intentionally act differently on these services.. This limits user expression.

2. ISSUES WITH "STREAMLINED INTERFACES"

There is a trade-off between streamlined user interfaces and the variety of content created by the users. As an example, consider the difference between creating a website (using html, css, and javascript) and a tweet. Clearly, you can express the content of any tweet as a website, but you cannot express the content of any website as a tweet (due to character and data limits among other things). However, it would be foolish to not acknowledge Twitter provides a significantly more convenient experience with little barrier to entry compared to creating a website. However, by limiting the interface a user uses to create content, one is controlling what ideas can exist on the platform. To pardon a loose analogy, it is the difference between painting with the option of only one color and having the option to use one hundred.

BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF WEB 1.0

1. BENEFITS

Static and more personalized webpages are ideal for the user, by lessening the restriction streamlined user interfaces one is able to express themselves more completely. Web 1.0's lack of user interactivity also limits the amount of data a service can reasonably collect, which solves issues regarding data surveillance.

Decentralization also allows individuals to express ideas without being beholden to the rules or restrictions created by a centralized authority, which is allows greater diversification of ideas.

2. DRAWBACKS

Compared to a more centralized model, the speed at which ideas are transmitted is inhibited in a decentralized web (the only way to find new websites would be through links on websites you already know of e.g. webrings). Further, by simply regressing to using outdated technologies may put a ceiling on the tools one has to express themselves. The barrier to entry is high (this may be due to an actual learning curve, in addition to societal stigmas).

MOVING FORWARD

It seems as if the majority of the population is not currently interested in the movement towards a free web. To create interest in the movement it may be useful to create unique experiences which employ the full extent of the tools which are available to us. Also, one can develop more tools to make "surfing the web" more accessible, so users can appreciate both the breadth and depth of the free web in its current form.

Also, one should incorporate Web 2.0 and other, newer technologies into the movement. Although these technologies enabled certain groups to make the internet landscape more restrictive, the technologies themselves hold potential. If a movement restricts themselves to using outdated technology from the Web 1.0 era, the movement will not be progressive but instead regressive.

Thank you for your time.

*=I guess one could say "everything is political", but I'm not interested in discussing this right now. Sorry.