What echo chamber?

What echo chamber?
: To anybody who thinks that weblogs are all about people writing for people who agree with them and people reading those with whom they agree…

Read my comments

Read them on Stern or Bush or Gibson or….

There’s plenty of disagreement and dissent and discussion. There’s no echo.

  • That’s not the echo chamber. Anyone can comment, it’s how people respond more formally that declinates the echo chamber.
    You reference people you agree with, and Doc references you, and then you reference him back, and Dave Winer references you, or Doc, and all of you totally ignoring those on the periphery, or those that don’t agree.
    People have made some pretty compelling arguments that the issue of Stern is not to do with free speech, but you don’t even acknowledge them. Some people have gone pretty nasty, but I’ve read some very compelling material on this (and no, I am not talking about my writing), but you don’t even acknowledge it. That’s just as symptomatic of an echo chamber as the noise in support.
    And now you say of yourself, this isn’t it, and people may or may not agree–but you won’t listen.
    It’s like one big cosmic male bonding hug.

  • Sorry, meant ‘delineates’ not declinates.

  • Danny

    I agree. ;-)

  • Shelley: What is it you expect? I have my say on the blog. Other people have their say in the comments — and on their blogs. That’s the way it works. I don’t respond to all comments first because I’ve already had my say and I think others should have theirs and second because there are too damned many of them. The fact that you and I are having this discussion and disagreement shows that there’s not an echo here. I said one thing. You disagreed. No echo there, eh?

  • Shelley,
    You are an example of someone who doesn’t agree with Jeff who is reading Jeff.

  • Doctor Slack

    “Echo chamber” is as much a question of readership as format. The likes of LGF and FreeRepublic have interactive formats, but precious little diversity of ideas. (I got the feeling that was the preferred environment of some of your “war base” regulars — when I first started reading and, later, commenting here, I recall some of them grousing about how the “vocal liberals” had found them… the horror!)
    A lack of interactivity intesifies echo-chamberism, to be sure, but it doesn’t create it.

  • By the way, Jeff, I’m intrigued to hear about your take on the conflict between property rights absolutists – those who venerate copyright laws that extend permanently and don’t like fair use – and free speech absolutists – those who promulgate fair use and think that content creators only have limited rights to the content they create.

  • Hipocrite

    Those property rights absolutists – who exactly are they, other than owners of IP. Certainly, not creators of IP – they’re dead by the time the difference comes up. From a theoretical perspective, the cost of perpetual copyright is insubstantial, and the benefit insiginificant, while, on the other hand, the cost of a long-but-not-perpetual copyright is only slighly higher than that of a perpetual copyright, while the benefit is roughly a four billion times larger. What benefit does keeping Pixar from making a Mickey Mouse movie serve, anyway?
    Of course, at year 98 of a 99 year right, it seems substantial (That’s why the “property rights absolutists, aka “Disney”, exist), but that’s just rent-seeking behavior and should be discouraged.

  • Matt: I’m a writer and a content creator in various guises and so I like copyright. If I ever get off my ass and write a book, I want to own the rights to it and pass those rights (as if, egotistically, I think they’d be worth anything) to my children. At some point, I’m fine on them passing to the public domain. But I think a good, long period of ownership is just fine. And if I chose instead to sell those rights and benefit from the money, that is also my right as a creator. Or if I do this creation — as I have — in the employ of a company and part of the value they get by paying me is getting the rights to my creations, fine. (Entertainment Weekly is worth somewhere north of $1 billion; I don’t own any of it; my ex-employer does; that’s life.)
    I don’t buy that copyright is bad. I don’t buy that companies that buy copyrights or own them through employment are evil. I make fun of the copyright demonizers and the big-media haters (thus my mocking copyright notice on the bottom of my right column). I also don’t buy that creativity is stunted if someone can’t copy Mickey Mouse; go create your own stuff, I say.
    Absolutist? No. I think the public domain is a good thing in time and the only issue, of course, is how much time is in time.
    In short: I’m no Lessigian.

  • I would say not just of this blog (and not just of blogs in general), that there is plenty of disagreement and dissent but precious little actual discussion. We all get caught up in the contest, the desire to “win” in proving the point we held before we started talking. On those occasions (both in the blogosphere and elsewhere) when we actually listen to each other, and gain a tiny bit of a new perspective, it’s a beautiful thing.

  • Jeff, comments are not a proof against echo chamber. The proof against an echo chamber is being willing to listen to what others say, and then respond accordingly, negatively or positively. Your response here in the comments to me is a start, but I think you’re doing it to prove a point, not necessarily because you want to engage in a meaningful discussion.
    As for Stern: This almost obsessive fixation on freedom of speech and Stern has been challenged many times. Some pretty decent challenges, too. It’s a compelling seque into an interesting and intelligent conversation, but you keep repeating the same thing over and over again, like a mantra to protect against any cracks in your beliefs on this issue.
    It’s become almost an obsession with me. I keep coming back, waiting for you to open this discussion. Such a rich discussion, too, with some of the comments I have read here. I guess I expected this from a liberal commentator (which is kind of interesting in its own right (must write on this).
    I keep wanting to hear your reasons why you think this is a freedom of speech issue. I genuinely would like to hear this. I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to agree with me, but I am curious as to why you think this is free speech, and not FCC as usual. You make the most astounding claims like, “The Internet is next”.
    Well, why?
    But, it is your weblog, write as you will. However, when you link Doc and Doc links you and Dave links you and you link Dave and Dave links Rogers (sound like a certain dialog about a certain AP story, hmmm), I’m sorry but it takes on all the aspects of an echo chamber. No harm, it’s a free country. But it is an echo chamber.
    But you do open your space to comments, which is a goodness. And your readers aren’t horribly nasty like the Chartreuse Ballers. So, ech…sorry…write away.
    And by the way, I agree with you on copyright, but I think it does need to be re-examined for abuse. And I’m working on my 15th book. Ah well, another interesting dialog.

  • Shelly: If you’d read this weblog over time, you would have seen that I have come to change my mind on many issues.
    Obsessive? You call me that only because I refuse to change my mind on Stern. I believe what I believe. It’s not an echo chamber if I stick by my (pardon the expression) guns, which I damned well do. I have said why often.

  • PJF

    As a regular reader and occasional commenter, I’m more inclined towards Jeff’s view on the echo chamber than Shelley’s.
    I visit Jeff’s blog because it is interesting, not because Jeff says what I want to hear all the time. The Stern/free-speech issue (on which I disagree with Jeff, based on current ‘evidence’) demonstrates clearly that hordes of people visit the blog for the same reason.

  • PJF

    BTW Jeff, unless you’re adopting the Donald Rumsfeld office routine, you need to be getting on your ass and writing that book. ;-)

  • hen

    hey doc…interesting that you reference FreeRep and LGF as one sided blogs, but (just for a fair and balanced approach, to turn a phrase) didn’t mention Indymedia, Bartcop, DU, etc…wonder why?
    i think, Jeff, what Shelley is saying is that no one is demanding that you change your opinion, but it appears that you are unwilling or unable to even understand the other side of this coin. personally outside of you and Stern i don’t think anyone cares or even thinks about this, so for you to blog on this, to the point of incredulity, is sort of….disturbing?
    i mean you DID wake up on a day you didn’t have to, early, to hear Stern’s take on Stuttering John…are we going to read about a bearded stalker outside of the Howard Stern BLDG in NYC?

  • Jeff,
    Thanks for the note. Jack Balkin has some interesting work on echo chamber effects. I’ll look for the links.
    Where do you draw the line on public domain? Can someone mock what you write? Grab a piece of it and expand on it? Use it as part of a song without your permission (but paying you some royalty)?

  • weimdog

    Looks like Stern doesn’t have an ally in Kerry –
    “Howard Stern does have the right to say whatever he wants anywhere, but he doesn’t necessarily have the right to say it on that station if the people who run the station don’t want him to,” Kerry said while campaigning in New York, where Stern’s show is broadcast.
    A questioner at the town hall meeting in Brooklyn asked Kerry to stand up for Stern’s right to say what he wants because the Republican-led government is repressing his right to free speech.

  • Hugh

    Kind of ironic, Stern done in by the bloggers ethos. Freedom of the press belongs to the man that owns one. Clear Channel, probably in a most cynical way, made a play they thought would enhance the viability of their radio-press.But I also think Shelley has a point. People don’t venture out on to the web or anywhere else greatly open to fundamentally life changing experiences. The Bushites watched Fox for a reason and therefor were appropriately deluded about the facts of the war in Iraq. I am still waiting for that change in basic human behavior that’s really going to make this blog thing take off.

  • Leland

    Shelley and hen;
    I have to agree with Jeff’s responses here. I don’t expect him to change his mind because someone, like myself, disagrees with him. I think debate is healthy here. He gives his views and we are allowed to give our views. I expect others to read the viewpoints and make their own conclusions.
    I have comments against Jeff on the first amendment issue both in regards to Stern and Jackson. I simply don’t believe art and entertainment was intended to be protected by the first amendment, which covers political discourse. I give Jeff credit for suggesting then that Bush/Powell had influence over Clear Channel, but I think that dog doesn’t hunt.
    There’s both views in a nutshell, and they don’t sound like an echo. Yes, I acknowledged his views, but I’m one of hundreds (maybe thousands, if all the readers commented), and I’ll cut him some slack. And to wit, he has put up some update on frequently mentioned disagreements with his points.

  • Sometimes the structural discussion of the echo chamber is viewed as a personal attack on the people echoing, as if they were being closed-minded, and could not abide contrary opinions.
    “Look”, then comes the reply, “I read my opponents, if only to point out how silly they are. I am master of my domain, but I willingly embrace the dissent, even of the ill-mannered rabble. What echo chamber?”
    This, sadly, misses the deep problem. The ideas, the framework, the controversies, which appeal to the A-list, get propagated. Those that don’t, don’t. Even if someone mentions it in a comment somewhere.
    This may be “right”, from an operational perspective. But that’s independent from the description of what happens.

  • Leland

    Good Point.

  • … there’s no echo … there’s no echo … there’s no echo.
    if there’s no echo – there are certain staid patterns going on in the blogosphere. I know what to expect when I go to Blog A. I know to avoid blog B because it’s worthless. I know I don’t want to be at work when I go to blog XXX.
    But I see from reading the comments that my definition of “echo chamber” may be different from others’

  • Jonas

    Maybe they were thinking of Atrios.