Thu, 04 May 2006

Benkler "The Wealth of Networks"

I wanted to read the book in printed form, but it's still listed as pre-order on Amazon. So, I'm wading through a printout of the PDF, smelling of freshly-slaughtered rainforest. Here's a taste:

Many of these initial statements or inquiries die because the community finds them uninteresting or fruitless. Some reach greater salience, and are distributed through the high-visibility sites throughout the community of interest. Issues that in this form reached political salience became topics of conversation and commentary across the divide. This is certainly consistent with both the BoycottSBG and Diebold stories, where we saw a significant early working out of strategies and observations before the criticism reached genuine political salience.

I'm around page 280 of 520. I hope Larry is wrong that "you are not serious about these issues --- on either side of these debates --- unless you have read this book". That's a high bar: this book an endurance test akin to reading a lecture series. He warms up on the examples, but the rest is dry sandpaper to my personal writing-style sensibilities.

This book provides useful academic underpinning for pro-network Internet policy. But the word "salience" is really starting to grate.

(Just for contrast, here's how I would have preferred to read this, although I'd probably cut deeper into the whole para):

Although many initial statements or inquiries die as uninteresting or fruitless, some resonate through core sites in the community of interest to then become topics of conversation across the political divide. In both BoycottSBG and Diebold, strategies and observations were refined early on before the criticism reached genuine political prominence.

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