Anil Dash on the Nature of Public

The phenomenon of doxxing (revealing personal information about a person online) has made clear that public information exists in a context of power and consent, and we must construct our ethics in that context. We can’t do that if we are still pretending that taking information that was merely available and instead making it easily accessible is an act without any moral or ethical consequences.

The word "social" implies a certain level of publicity. The web, by its nature, is social, so it stands to reason that the web is public.

Be careful what you put online, right? That axiom has been uttered so many times it's lost a bit of its potency. But the term is symbolic of the way we look at the web at large: as a binary system. It's either public, or it's not.

Anil Dash raises a few interesting questions in today's piece, though. What if Twitter conversations were more like conversations had in a public restaurant? It's public, in the strict sense of the term, but there's a bit more nuance there than a binary approach allows.

I don't agree with everything in this piece, but I love the fact that Dash is asking these questions. It's the start of a conversation we should've begun long ago.


Read What is Public? now on Medium or save it for later.