The Internet We Want: Part I

overit

So here’s a thing I don’t understand about the internet: it is impossible to be kind most of the time, but it is super easy to be mean.

Let’s talk about this week. I wanted to gift someone a game that’s going to be coming out soon, so I went to the gaming site and started the purchasing process. I was unable to gift this game to anyone at all; I could only purchase for myself. That ended up with me having to spoil my surprise, then (ultimately) get the person I wanted to surprise to give me their account info so I could purchase it with my card on their account.

Why?

You asked me my name, my card number, other personal info. You had my username. You could have asked me for their username. It’s not like you have a reason not to let me do the nice thing I want to do, you just didn’t let me do it.

Because.

On the other hand, if I want to be a xenophobic, homophobic, anti-semitic, sexist, racist douchebag, I am required to provide:

  • Username
  • Email
  • Password
  • Mobile number (maybe)

I can order things to troll people like glitterbombs for enemies, but I can’t order a game for a friend.

This is where I scratch my head in frustration.

Why are our systems able to so easily allow someone to be awful, but require multiple layers in order to be kind in a specific way to a person or group of people most of the time?

Is this the internet we want?

As much as we say we don’t, this is what we built which amazes me because I imagine most would justify the security walls and such as “We need to prevent evil…”, but in the end we are preventing a great deal of good.

Insult to injury: we’re not even actually preventing evil. Ask Anita Sarkeesian.

Avoiding evil is not helpful if you don’t pair it with actively doing good. Can we work toward an internet that lets me do that?

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