Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

self-organization is not a pipe dream

A couple of weeks ago on a post about google, gmail, centralization and not, Andrew left a comment that stayed with me. He said:

Decentralisation is _never_ going to catch on. The average person does not care. They just don't.
The reason it stayed with me was because I've heard it before, in many forms, and in different contexts.

In my head, I generally rephrase the statement to "The average person should not have to care." If they were up to date in all the issues involved, they probably would care. But it's not their job to care. It's our job. It's what we should be looking out for. Well-informed users are great, and of course everyone on their field wishes that more people would care.

Now, whether people care about this or not isn't the issue. The issue is that we (we = the developer community) haven't really offered a good, simple solution that works in decentralized form for many of these problems. We have to give the best possible solution to problems that most users don't see, because we can't expect everyone to be an expert. If you gave people a decentralized tool that was transparent in its networking and security, they'd use it. The benefits of using one over the other could and should be explained, but some of them would be obvious and immediate (not that it's a silver bullet, of course sometimes you want centralized services).

It's up to us to care. Because users shouldn't have to.

Posted by diego on April 26 2004 at 11:42 PM

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