Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Table or the Peanut Gallery?

I received an electronic mail invitation from John Podesta to participate in the Obama Transition Team's new "Seat at the Table" initiative; but, true to the vagaries of the Internet, the mail did not arrive until after I had read about it on Truthdig. Indeed, not only had I read about it; but I had already posted a Comment beginning:

There are serious flaws in the reasoning behind this process.

This gave me the opportunity to summarize for the Truthdig community many of the points I have been trying to make in recent (and some not-so-recent) blog posts. These include the dangerous equation of input with conversation, the risks of Wiki-style wisdom-of-crowds thinking (including the displacement of representative government with a plebiscitary process), and (of course) the susceptibility of the process to predatory practices, such as malware. By way of experiment, I decided to try replying to Podesta's mail with a polite invitation for him to follow the hyperlink to my Truthdig comment. I fully expected to get either a bounce-message or a content-free reply form. Thus far, I have received neither; but this is hardly a guarantee that anyone will give my misgivings any due consideration!

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