Before being swamped with illness and general swamped-ness, I posted on wiki-pedia and its anti-elitist approach towards information handling. While it is an interesting example of how people in a new-media age get their information (what is readily and quickly available instead of authoritatively correct), I meant to bring up the example as a case-study to a much general failing that grows with the popularity of new media.
So what is this fallacy? Earlier I briefly summed it up as: “Just because you have the tools does not mean you should be allowed to use them.” To better understand what I mean when I talk about the wiki-fallacy in general sense, I’ll dissect the two unique aspects of new media that contribute to the problem.
1) Internet for all, internet for “you”!
2) Our blogs are part of our organism and no less complicated*
Beneath the “system of secrecy” of our browser, there is complex system of software, databases, hardware and an a intense amount of layers of abstraction. Although the “anyone can do it” philosophy suggested previously does it best to hide the fact, there is a great number of elements that go into some of the simplest functions of the internet. On services as common as blogs, the multiplicity of content and users extends the number of composing elements to a myriad of various technologies. As users come to expect more dynamic content with more buzzes and whistles, so does the amount of software systems on a single page.Despite Kittler’s best hopes, the most common methods of web publishing are at a nauseating level of abstraction. Even the most rooted web programers–the ones who can pride themself in their “down to earth” approach of being able to program in notepad–still find themselves coding in php (originally an abstraction of C), talking to a mysql, sqlite, or postgres database (all complications of SQL) on an apache server (C++), ad nausium. These tools aid users in a number of performative issues, but largely have been developed to allow users and programmers the ability to do more with less understanding. The growing democratic and complex natures of the internet have given birth to the exponential level of abstraction in web software. As more users with less understanding want access to the powers the internet can give them, the digital tool makers came to realize how little faith they could have for their target audience. This realization led to a golden axiom of user-connected systems programing: never trust the client. This rule is based on the simplified understandings of Murphy’s Law and Ockham’s Razor: The more and more access you give the user to a system, the more and more likely they will mess something up. In the same way that Wikipedia gives inappropriate authority to people without authoritative knowledge, the democratic trend of the internet allows users access to power without the necessary knowledge to maintain it.