Friday, August 10, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Shutting Down the Berkman Center Blogs

Harvard:

In 2003, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society (now the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society) began an unusual experiment: we launched a blogging platform. That seems quaint today in the age of ubiquitous access to services that facilitate the sharing of user-generated content. But it was an uncommon achievement at the time.

[…]

Our platform no longer offers a unique opportunity for online engagement. And it is technically antiquated when compared with contemporary, streamlined platforms that offer more advanced tools for social interactions.

[…]

At this point, for all of the reasons set out above, we feel that the time for hosting content from non-Harvard-affiliated bloggers on Harvard servers has passed. We are giving non-Harvard users with active blogs the opportunity to export existing content over the coming weeks. Those users will then be transitioned off the platform.

Dave Winer:

I heard about this just now. Harvard’s was the first academic blog hosting service in the world. Apparently they’re going to take the archive offline. There’s a lot of value and history there. Please let’s discuss before throwing it away.

Throwing out this archive is like throwing out an academic journal. Why would a university do that? One of the reasons we did this work at a university was the hope/expectation it would survive over time. Only 15 years later, they want to throw it away?

2 Comments

The buried lede: "The Center is increasingly faced with the types of thorny content moderation decisions that many online platforms that are subjects of our research face every day. Making discretionary judgments about speech (including offensive speech) within the context of an academic institution which maintains a commitment to academic freedom, with such a wide range of users (some much more and some much less connected to Harvard), on a platform that bears that institution’s name, at a time where alternative options abound, has become a tricky business."

In other words, it's too much work to maintain political correctness.

>In other words, it's too much work to maintain political correctness.

It would be amazing if a side-effect of all of this was that it was no longer feasible to run these large public social network-type sites where companies publicly host the ramblings of random people without any control over what these people actually say. People would have to go back to hosting their own blogs if they wanted to publicize their opinions online! And wouldn't *that* be nice?

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