Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 02 Jul 2015 18:21:05 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at epastore You are quite right about the reliance on benevolent dictators in existing online governments.Enter the Metagovernment project and its various approaches to opening up governance to everyone. We are taking a lot of different approaches, but the uniform principles of these applications are that they are radically open, in terms of both transparency and participation.Note also that there are many, many more similar projects which have not yet formally joined the Metagovernment project, but which are on the same track.The belief of the Metagovernment is that open governance is not a possibility as much as a inevitable certainty. When you think about it, the only real barriers to direct democracy have been practical problems: the inability to get everyone in the same room at the same time, and the lack of a good mechanism for coordinating participation in such a way that it does not degenerate into mob rule. In other words, we needed the internet and we needed software. We have the one; these projects are developing the other.Given the opportunity to govern themselves or remain under the firm rule of "representatives" (who are just modern versions of lords and kings, subject to every form of corruption and human frailty), why would people not want a change?Everyone in the world is of course welcome to participate. Thu 20 Aug 2009 18:40:48 GMT+1 GaryGSCC re. Nations and the web. The English language is common to the sites I use, whether they are hosted in English speaking countries or not. An interesting thing for me is that, as more sites develop 2 way communication with the user, it seems as if more users are trying to communicate in English even if they only know a handful of words. This can have interesting consequences(particularly in forums and discussion groups) when you get someone involved who may have something interesting to say, but you can't actually get a grasp on what they are saying and it can lead to a lot of confusion, frustration and dangling threads as the language barrier gets in the way. I'm not knocking anyone who even attempts to speak another language, as my only language is English (apart from about 30 words of French), but it can lead to some interesting! conversations.Mind you, this isn't just the case with non-English speakers, it's English speakers too. Sometimes I read a message someone has posted that's full of spelling errors (possibly a couple here!), or is disjointed, with abbreviations and home made txt spk and I wonder what language they are using.I wonder if there are any plans for an international weblanguage to be developed to overcome these issues? How about Websperanto? Or how about someone develops a realtime online language translator that displays messages and web pages automatically and perfectly in the default language you want to read them in, rather than the language they were written in?Another thought I've just had is that, if an online community is set up it also develops its own culture and there are particular behaviours expected when interacting with others in that community. There can be a social hierarchy in there too sometimes, based on a persons knowledge, skills or coolness! Even though the online community crosses national barriers they often end up being an island state themselves and you need to know how the users interact with each other and what they're talking about before you can really become a proper member of the gang. Thu 13 Aug 2009 13:44:07 GMT+1 Dan Biddle The nation-state ... is a state that both claims and exercises the monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a demarcated territory. [It] is a state that seeks to unite the people subjected to its rule by means of homogenisation, creating a common culture, symbols, values, reviving traditions and myths of origin, and sometimes inventing them.Breaking news: Facebook has just acquired FriendFeed apparently. Does this bring real-time search to rival Twitter closer to Facebook's attributes? Or would it be the further aggregation of a nation?I was speaking to a bunch of young people at an event called Tomorrow's Web #tomorrowsweb on Saturday, all of whom were on Facebook*, all of whom saw sharing their data and having it exploited in return for the site's free services as a fine and fair thing; all of whom thought Facebook Connect was genius. They also broadly welcomed the notion of some form of Facebook currency akin to the Linden Dollar, with some appended 'reward scheme' that would allow users to gain currency through deed or friend recommendations.Is this the emerging nation we should really be looking at? The Global Facebook nation?Answers on a postcard or USB stick :)Dan*To be fair, one of the young people said he thought facebook had peaked and would soon be in decline as friends migrated to the next big thing. This said, he had a Facebook page. Mon 10 Aug 2009 20:07:50 GMT+1 jayfurneaux Surely all large (successful) enterprises on the web are just variations of the models founded by big multi-national business? ebay, Google, Yahoo and so on are just manoeuvring within the virtual market in order to produce the biggest profits. Decisions are made to serve their interests, not those of their consumers. Where they change tack, in order to please their users, it is in order to protect those interests, they don't want to lose customers. There are a few parallels with governments; but it's like trying to make a case that Microsoft or Toyota are replacing the nation state or governments.I agree with the first comment about Freecycle; it has its uses but it's hardly democratic; the Mods are draconian and often arbitrary in their decisions. I also understand there are power struggles within local structures; town hall politics written small. Sun 09 Aug 2009 01:18:11 GMT+1 Dan Biddle @TimFootman 'Can I say 'pissed off'? Will it get asterisked? Nobody I know is offended by that. But they might be somewhere. See what I mean?'(If it's good enough for David Cameron...) I think you're ok on that one. though, you're quite right, not necessarily by everyone's standards.This (the 'world' part of SiR Tim's World Wide Web) is proving to be a tough nut for us - of which more in later blog posts. We will be looking for some real help in divining a fuller, truer picture of that. But let's not rush ahead of ourselves!@cyberissues - good points all; quite a sanity check for this idea. Aleks herself admits to the that being a stretched idea, but her point about World of Warcraft or Second Life she expands upon in the Guardian Game Theory article today.So does any of this add up? Or are we barking up the wrong tree completely? Is there no sense that an online community could pull itself up to nationhood?@PeteHindle This is an interesting steer. I certainly was unaware that there was such a structure of governance within Freecycle. Is this from personal experience?Thanks, as ever, for your input and considered comments. Thu 06 Aug 2009 19:49:43 GMT+1 TimFootman Even if the nation state fades, there are still cultural spheres of interest and influence that define their own norms. The web may break down some boundaries, but language, religion etc may be tougher to crack. What we're moving towards is more like a group of empires shifting and nudging against each other. The global Chinese community, for example, may turn out to be more powerful than the People's Republic; the idea of Islam is certainly stronger than any single Islamic State. The US, Russia, India, Europe, Latin America are becoming identifiable blocs, defined as much as anything by their differences from each other.The problem for any content creator, in any media, who seeks to target the whole world is that anything that appeals to all cultures, that offends no-one, is almost by definition unbelievably bland. Sexual references offend in Tehran more than in Berlin; the converse is true for Holocaust denial. Should a global provider ban both, just to be on the safe side? Should everyone in Second Life wear burqas? Should Amazon refuse to sell Mein Kampf? Last year, a rude video about the King of Thailand caused YouTube to be blocked in the country for weeks. Should YouTube back down every time that happens? Or impose its own (by definition, Western, US-centric) view on what's freedom of speech and what's taking it too far?I've just written a book (I know, dead trees, how quaintly 20th-century) about The Noughties, and set out to make it as internationally applicable as I could; but it can't be done. Even in the English-speaking world, 9/11 and David Beckham and the Asian tsunami and Jade Goody have different meanings, different connotations, different levels of importance. Throw Osama bin Laden and the Dalai Lama and Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe into the mix, and you just know somebody somewhere is going to get royally pissed off. (Can I say 'pissed off'? Will it get asterisked? Nobody I know is offended by that. But they might be somewhere. See what I mean?)The Web can cross national boundaries, but cultural boundaries might be a tougher call. Thu 06 Aug 2009 16:13:24 GMT+1 cyberissues (Apologies for the grammatical errors in the above post; I accidentaly pasted in a draft copy and it won't let me edit it! First line should read: There are many arguments against the view that eBay has become a nation state.) Thu 06 Aug 2009 15:33:19 GMT+1 cyberissues There are many arguments against why eBay has become a nation state. I shall adopt the parent articles points as starting points.Firstly, the communications platform, Skype is governed by the jurisdiction of each nation under which its various legitimate entities are registered. In the UK, Skype Limited is registered in Luxembourg and so are bound by the domestic courts. Furthermore, if the assets are distributed globally, the nation which houses the controlling firm (i.e. eBay US) has a wide span of control for controlling and taxing the activities of its subsidiaries. Whilst the firm can exert pressure on some nations by way of avoiding or changing regulation, it can only do so within a certain framework, typically akin to the regulations of the ‘top’ host nation. Where eBay has its main advantage is that it can, in theory, change its ‘top’ host nation to a ‘friendly’ jurisdiction (think tax breaks from Eastern European countries after the fall of the command economies).However, for Paypal to operate in each jurisdiction, it must comply with local regulations, hence why there are various incarnations of Paypal worldwide. HMRC and others are right to be concerned, but it Paypal presents no more concern for legitimate or illegitimate business than other tax avoidance techniques. Merely the medium has changed. Of course in Europe, Paypal is a bank and is (again) registered in Luxembourg having formerly been registered in the UK. This jurisdiction choosing may have short term advantages, but in the long run are still constrained by the laws of nation states.It should be noted that Paypal does not operate its own currency; accounts are linked to banks and the exchange rates are determined by the market. This is by no means similar to World of Warcraft banking.And finally, the fostering of a community does not incur a nation state. It has been found time and again by Sociologists, Psychologists and Anthropologists that the differences within a society are far greater than the differences found between societies. It therefore makes sense that a close community of people all brought together through choice are from different places.However, trans-national firms are brining a homogeneity toward the jurisdictional difficulties of the internet. Eventually, nations will be forced to operate in a similar fashion to one another. For instance in the UK, recent legislation (such as the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008) is tending toward applying the onus on the consumer rather than the producer of materials. This allows the courts to prosecute domestic individuals where previously the foreign perpetrator would have gone unpunished. In an ever changing digital world, the battle for retaining hetrogeny between societies will be the difficult task, especially where firms such as eBay as attempting to impose their self-defined standards across the globe. Thu 06 Aug 2009 13:08:13 GMT+1 petehindle I don't think eBay is a very good example - it's centralised nature and capitalist origins run pretty much contrary to the early history of most nations. It's also worth noting that there is a great lack of commmunity policing (or normative values) within the eBay society, which has led to the high degree of fraud you'll find when attempting to buy or sell expensive items. I referred to this as a lack of community policing above; that's because there is no way for people to actively shun the fraudsters. Yes, a bad rating could be left, but then a few fraudulent good ratings could be left to counteract it. And there is no way for normative values to be established - you might want to sell your laptop, but somebody using eBay in the third world might see the website as a great way of fleecing the overly-rich first world. There is no village hall for these two polarised examples to meet and discover their differences.A better example of distributed community could have been the Freecycle project. However, Freecycle is severely hampered by the actions of it's benevolent dictators, to the extent that it has become mistrusted by a large swathe of it's previous users. But this is because there is such a thing as a holder of the Freecycle brand - something that would have been unthinkable with the idea of an emerging nation-state, such as Finland. Something that is wholly owned by corporations, funded by venture capital, and reliant upon business infrastructures cannot be heralded as the basis for a virtual nation state. At best, it can be the starting point for a type of convergent hobbyism that Henry Jenkins writes about; at worst, it is the ground zero for merchandising. Thu 06 Aug 2009 12:10:36 GMT+1