December 13, 2004

99% BS

Damien Penny is adding his $0.02 to the whiners who are trying to delegitimize the Parents Television Council (PTC). The complaint, when you think it through unemotionally, is that the PTC and its FCC complaint web service are dominant in their demographic.

The PTC doesn't actually internally generate these complaints. They simply make it ridiculously easy to file one if your engine is revved over a particular program. If PTC's web activism model is illegitimate then so is and all the deaniac and other web activist groups who offer the same sort of web services. If one ideological use of technology is illegitimate, they all are. That would be a shame because the technology has the potential to be the greatest advance in democratic participation in quite a long time. What the left doesn't seem to understand is that all ideological opinions are going to use the same tools in future. They don't like that and want to mau mau the right into not taking advantage of the tools that they themselves increasingly depend on.

Here's what I left in comments:

I suspect, though I don't know, that if I visit the Parents Television Council, click on their File an FCC Complaint link, and actually send something off, the people who are complaining about PTC dominance of the FCC complaint will jot down my opinion as less valid because I used a simple web form instead of running a search and sorting through it all myself.

The campaign against the PTC is essentially one against web forms that make life easy when the form does something the campaigners don't like. The PTC apparently dominates the sector of bluestocking complainants. That doesn't make the individual complaints any less valid than if they had not used the web form or had no contact with the PTC whatsoever.

I'm sure that PTC dominance will eventually break down, if nothing else than because monkeywrenchers are inevitably going to target the thing. But it seems to me that a principle is being established here, one that is not very good for free speech on the Internet mediated by web services. Today the PTC, tomorrow somebody you might approve of quite a bit more.

Posted by TMLutas at December 13, 2004 10:40 AM