Here, have some email

I have other things to say, but, as usual, it’s too much effort to compose them into coherent paragraphs while I’m wondering whether to actually carry on with this bit of the site or not. I’m not sure I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear, at least, nothing that other people can’t say better. So in the meantime, have some pre-formed paragraphs from an email I just sent:

I was thinking about that StopNapster idea the other day, “flooding” the network with bogus tracks. From an almost evolutionary point of view I can’t see how it would work. It relies on people that download these tracks to keep them around so other people can then download them. Are people going to do that? If you download 4Mb of static aren’t you more likely to throw it away than leave it sitting on your drive? It’s like an organism giving birth to children that die before they reach child-bearing age (ie, before anyone else has a chance to copy the downloaded file) - the species would die out. Have I missed something here?

I was reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs the other day and there’s a bit in there about how people in her neighbourhood trust each other, leave their keys at the local shop, and how it makes for a great community. I’m sure there must be some useful parallels (or at the very least, some useful metaphors!) in this stuff for online community-type stuff.

I know building web sites is often compared to architecture, but to me town/city/regional planning seems like a much more useful comparison - have you seen it made anywhere? At a town planning level there is (or should be) much more emphasis on the mixing of different people, building communities, creating useful public and private spaces, than in most architecture.