Saturday, September 26, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, the adventure game was among, if not the, most popular type of game on the personal computer. I was pondering whether this had anything to do with the average intelligence of people using computers at that time. Computers in the home were relatively rare, there was no Internet available to the public, and any computers that were in the home were relatively difficult to use. In short, computers were once the realm of intellectuals and nerds. No longer.

Sometime in the early 1990's, I was introduced to the Internet at university. There was a brief period where practically everyone on the 'net was an academic or very technically inclined. Even early home access didn't seem to change this mix much. There was a distinct culture and set of social norms associated with discourse on the 'net. In September 1993, AOL essentially changed this culture forever. The age of spam, trolling and flamewars had been launched, to engulf the Internet forever.

One hope expressed on the early Internet was that it would be able to bring everyone together in a global conversation, where the honest application of logic and reason in the discussion would lead us to a golden age of peace and enlightenment. Or something. At the time, this actually seemed reasonable, mostly because the vast majority of the people in the conversation at the time respected reason and logic and were willing to consider different points of view and the possibility that their own opinions might be wrong. The major flaws in this reasoning are still only becoming fully realized, but we now understand this: many people are not reasonable, nor do they respect reason or logic.

The point of this being, there have been a number of endeavors undertaken by the intellectuals of this world, and they have been routinely cocked up when the rabble gets in on the action.

Now, I'm not going to say that should not have happened. I'm not even going to suggest it wasn't a net gain. What I want to know is, what is the next sub-culture of intellectualism that will fly under the radar for the next decade or so, and how do I find it?