- They respect their readers enough to open their comments.
- When they make mistakes, they tend to correct them.
- They understand that every factual statement that can be linked to its source, should be.
- Because they have little default institutional authority, they go overboard backing up what they say with evidence. Unsourced assertions are frowned on. In this way, paradoxically enough, blogs are often more rigorous than traditional journalism, because they have to earn their readers' trust, not just assume it.
- They're often written by practitioners, not just observers, and as a result they tend to get the details right.
- If their information source is some random, unverified bar conversation or even just their own opinion, they're usually big enough to admit it.
(Quickly heading off the obvious question--why don't we do all this at Wired?--the answer is that we do some, we should certainly do more, and someday soon I hope we will. But it's tricky, because the print version exists independently from the website [see this Wikipedia entry for the complicated details] and we don't want the two versions of each article to diverge too much, for fear of confusion over which one is the "right" one. Meanwhile, nobody else in print media has really solved this problem yet either. And yes, I am aware of the irony that this is another distortion caused by inefficient distribution, exactly what I spotlight in other industries. Let's just say I know of what I speak.)
Three reasons why podcasts aren't a big deal (yet):
- They don't have internal permalinks to section and subjects, so they don't get much link-love. UPDATE: Commentor #1 says it's technically doable, but clearly not many take advantage of that technology yet.
- They aren't searchable. How hard would it be for some service to run podcasts through a quick-n-dirty voice recognition program to autogenerate transcripts? They don't need to be exactly right; 80% accurate search is better than the 0% we've got now. UPDATE: Michael Glenn in the comments points me to Podscope, which claims to do exactly what I asked for. Although it does seem to return relevent results, I can't get the podcasts to play in Firefox, so I can't comment on it yet.
- They're meant to be consumed linearly, and pretty much at the (agonizingly slow and amateurish) pace they were created. Who, aside from trapped commuters, has time for that?
Three reasons why I'm not totally anti-DRM:
- I'm not willing to install Myth TV just to avoid the broadcast flag.
- I want more music and video. I'm happy to pay for it. Just don't jerk me around.
- Even if Microsoft or whomever screw up their DRM, markets self correct. Millions of users tend to eventually get what they want.
Three reasons why I don't use a Mac:
- Somebody at Wired should know what 97% of the country has to put up with.
- Windows Media Center Edition 2005.
Three reasons why Linux is teh sux!
- Okay, I'm not that much of a troll. I can't really go through with this.
- I totally run it on all my machines, even the Roomba and the universal remotes.
- Honestly, what's not to like about command lines?
(BTW, that wall painting at the top is a St. Augustine rebuffing the heretics. It's less grindingly literal than a picture of a troll.)