“The way quality works on the web is through links”

As noted by Jack Schofield on the Guardian’s Technology Blog, Sir Tim Berners-Lee shakes his head at an overly pessimistic interpretation of his views in the Guardian – “Blogging one of biggest perils, says innovator” – and gently chastises an earlier BBC report – “Web inventor fears for the future”. As he says on his own blog, “Blogging is great”His reasoning will be familiar to anyone who followed the discussions around an Irish Times article that I noted, and the response from Mick… or indeed an article in The Village magazine noted by Mick

People have, since it started, complained about the fact that there is junk on the web. And as a universal medium, of course, it is important that the web itself doesn’t try to decide what is publishable. The way quality works on the web is through links.

It works because reputable writers make links to things they consider reputable sources. So readers, when they find something distasteful or unreliable, don’t just hit the back button once, they hit it twice. They remember not to follow links again through the page which took them there. One’s chosen starting page, and a nurtured set of bookmarks, are the entrance points, then, to a selected subweb of information which one is generally inclined to trust and find valuable.

A great example of course is the blogging world. Blogs provide a gently evolving network of pointers of interest.

… and, as in this case,

And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported.