Craig Newmark’s Drawbacks To Transparency

Newmark:    When we’re talking about transparency and publishing stuff online, people want to see a lot of it online, but also the people involve have a lot of common sense.  The best proponent to this is Jeff Jarvis, you know, at BuzzMachine and City University of New York who says, “Let’s put everything online except the stuff which is obviously sensitive.”  For example, you probably don’t want to disclose a lot of details about nuclear weapons, you know, as a great example.  So, again, lots of common sense about this, and, frankly, I do speak to people in the intelligence community about this.  They love the idea.  Okay, just addressing an implicit question you had, sometimes people talk about Craigslist or my every effort [says] something noble or special, and I’m telling everyone, you know, there is nothing altruistic or noble about what we’re doing at Craigslist.  We’re just following through shared values like treat people like you want to be treated, like give people a break, like live and let live.  And me, in particular, you know, I’m not an activist.  I’m just basically a guy who’s decided it’s time to stand up.  This is an important era in human history.  For the first time, people are serious about grassroots democracy, not in the tens of thousands, but in potentially the tens of millions or hundreds of millions.  This is a historic era, kind of like 1787 where the founders of this country created a new form of government, not too different from what they did in Britain hundred years earlier, and it was pretty flawed in some big ways, but they did do something new in the way that representative democracy was done.  What was new was not only representative democracy, of course, they didn’t do a bad job with that in Roman Republic, but we have a lot of checks and balances.  Now, we’re at a period now where this is being complemented by grassroots democracy and we’re restoring the checks and balances which were damaged over the last 8 years.  So, in a way, we’re seeing a rebirth of American democracy which makes a difference, not only in this country but for the whole world.

Craig Newmark mentions Jeff Jarvis and talks about how much information should be publicly available online.

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