Britannica Blog asks “Web 2.0: Threat or Menace?”

The Britannica Blog (“where ideas matter”) is holding a Web 2.0 Forum, built on Michael Gorman‘s contention that the internet is in the process of rapidly destroying civilization. Gorman, former president of the American Library Association, engages in two posts worth of polemic that may pass for discourse in a few disreputably forms of traditional print, but online is unmistakably in the genre of trolling. In “Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason” Part I and Part II, Gorman lays out an argument about the evils of the wisdom of crowds, citizen journalism, the cult of the amateur, digital Maoism, and the online retreat from authority and authenticity.

Clay Shirky disassembles Gorman’s essay nicely with “Old Revolutions Good, New Revolutions Bad: A Response to Gorman“. At the Britannica forum, Andrew Keen and Nicholas Carr (to overgeneralize slightly) back Gorman up, while Matthew Battles tries to bring some common sense to the high and mighty.

Gorman has promised a post next week dedicated specifically to Wikipedia (the epitome of the Web 2.0 devolution of traditional media and respect for authority, and the worst thing on the internet since pornography). The forum is scheduled to run until June 29th, and if it keeps up the current post frequency (5 posts in three days) it should be worth keeping up with.

Bonus Link: Ben Yates of the Wikipedia Blog had an insightful critique of the Britannica Blog a while back.