The End of Auto-Stadler, The Begining of Promise Not to Tell

A note from Matthew Stadler:

If it interests you, I have closed “Matthew Stadler’s Personal Weblog” with a short piece discussing that experiment: www.urbanhonking.com/matthewstadler

Meanwhile, another site I put up continues indefinitely… www.promisenottotell.com

If you weren’t familiar with Matthew Stadler’s blog, he had it written by random people at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Stadler paid 10 bucks for someone to write something based on his sketch. The results were interesting and at first promised to be varied. Gradually they assumed an oddly consistent tone; even more odd considering they were written by random people from around the planet. I once tried to take part, but Matthew works very late into the evening, and I fell asleep before he posted his premise and by the time I woke the global nature of the web had answered Matthew’s call and already there was something on the blog.

Matthew writes in his statement, “The End:” The web is a kind of communal insane person who never stops muttering to himself.

I can somewhat hear the sense in this, but simultaneously I don’t agree with it. The web is no more a person than a city is a person. I think when a person tries to understand any organization or community as if they were a person, it cannot help but appear as an insane person because the metaphor does not hold when applied to the monologue or interior life of the organization. It isn’t a monologue that you are hearing, but a conversation. It isn’t talking to itself. Rather its members are talking.

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