Sunday, September 14, 2008

I know nothing and so can you!

One poster said she couldn't belong to a group that had members who belonged to "Grouply" another said that was insane. Debate ensued. In most cases there were two classes of response. Class One: I haven't looked into it, but I don't worry about those things and you shouldn't either. Class Two: I have looked into it, and there are issues, and here's what we can do about it. Made me want to post the following, because I find it sociologically and perhaps even historically interesting, but that's not really the purpose of the group.


Just to defend a bit the "sanity" of the poster who didn't want any contact with Grouply whatsoever, anyone who *has* checked out Grouply can easily get the idea that it is a potentially so-called evil thing. It's only been around a year or so and when it started it did not have all of these limitations that Ann's helpful and informative post outlines. Through googling, I have read that early users had some very upsetting experiences with it (repeated messages going to their entire address book without their consent or knowledge) which they felt they had not initiated and had no control over. Grouply it seems is working hard to establish themselves as a legitimate business, but they got off to a very rocky start with quite a few people certain they were up to no good, or at the very least insensitive to privacy and security issues.

In some respects, so what, big deal...don't like it, don't use it...but on the other hand, we all know there are computer viruses out there and malicious worms and bots and miners and who knows what all else; it is vital that we be informed and vigilant. So many of us have *everything* on our computers -- including all our kids' school records -- that it is not unreasonable to be extremely careful. (We all make regular, secure back-ups, right?) What can make the horrible experience of being infected by a computer virus or snared by a phishing expedition even worse is that feeling of "how could I have been so gullible? why wasn't I more careful?" or even worse than that, our fellows' response of "well, if you were stupid enough to click on it I guess you got what you deserved...." (The logic that leads to an ignorant person "deserving" to suffer does not add up for me. How about mean people deserve suffering? That's math I can get behind, but even then, c'mon -- no one deserves to suffer for pete's sake.)

I suppose many major technological innovations have gone through periods of explosive growth, then some explosions, then more stringent safety standards. Electricity, dirigibles, pesticides on food, lead in fuel...To me it seems inherently reasonable, especially for the non-technical person, to exercise caution with any new Internet product.

And of course, what we are going through with our computers and the internet is just a tiny taste of what our children will likely experience in their lifetimes.

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