i don't doubt that the internet could survive without any ads. but it would be a very different place than it is today. It would ALSO be a very different place than it was before advertising. the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak.
you seem pretty confident that the outcome would be entirely positive. i am a bit more skeptical of that conclusion, and feel that the end result would be more in the neutral zone, probably tending toward the negative. we could both be right, as a lot of it would be a matter of personal opinion.
to each their own.
my original post said paywalls OR donation buttons. funny that you mention wikipedia, poster child for the donation model. thanks for helping me make my point, i guess?
slashdot got by without advertising when it was much smaller. i promise you that its operating expenses have gotten much higher. could it survive on premium accounts and donations alone? maybe. maybe not. if it were my company, i certainly wouldn't want to roll the dice to see if it survived.
yes, XKCD gets by without ads. congratulations, you have found one of the outliers.
also, congrats on being so leet that you don't see ads on slashdot and don't use gmail. you are also an outlier. and you come off sounding like an elitist asshole. 'man the internet's first albums were the best. now it's mainstream crap.' well, yeah, it is. welcome to the world. just because you were here first doesn't mean you get to dictate how everyone else has to use it. people want free content, and advertising is how they get it, whether YOU like it or not.
you are welcome to restrict your web traffic to sites that don't use ads. the people that were putting stuff out 13 years ago without ads, they are still around. and the ones that aren't? advertising didn't kill them.
oh, those rose-colored glasses you wear.
yes, advertising has its own set of problems. but let's not pretend that it is only harmful. since you want to take a black-and-white view of the world, here are some specific examples.
do you like slashdot? funded by advertising.
do you like penny arcade? funded by advertising. (or basically any other webcomic getting a modest amount of traffic)
how about google? gmail? let me tell you, bandwidth doesn't pay for itself. your awesome free webmail is paid for by... advertising.
i could go on, but hopefully you are starting to grasp the situation a little better now.
sure, some of those things could survive with a paywall or donation model, especially now that they are already established. but the barrier to entry all of a sudden becomes much greater.
amusingly, advertising HELPS a free and open internet, in that it's very easy for anyone to start a site up and have it naturally fund itself. You don't need a big pile of startup cash or a devout following that will make the commitment of subscribing or donating. Without ads, how are you going to pay your hosting costs for anything more than a trivial amount of traffic?
you can make an awesome site, and make it freely available, but you will become a victim of your own success - if your site actually DOES become huge, so will your hosting bill, and you'd better have some plan in place to pay for it.
have you ever BEEN to wikipedia? ever see that donation bar up top with jimmy wales' face on it? what about this page, ever been to it?
you're right, it would be super weird if wikipedia were to have a donation button or something on it~
do you like free content? i do. if all the advertisers go away, expect everything to be paywalled or have donation buttons.
actually they are quite appropriate - the article indicates that she has the mental capacity of a five year old as well. So it's not unreasonable to think that her parents are simply keeping her surroundings the same to match her physical and emotional maturity level.
No, I'm New Here
if my kid enjoyed eating an entire chocolate cake every day, should i allow that as well?
some behaviours are clearly more detrimental to his long term happiness than others.
sports keep kids in shape and help them develop important social skills. porn and video games do neither. i know which thing i would rather my kid be doing. you are welcome to let yours do whatever you please, just don't be shocked when they turn out do be basement dwellers at 30.
perhaps 'fulfilling' was not the best word choice. instant gratification is more what i had in mind. but i wholeheartedly agree with you. for the ones that social interaction comes naturally, video games and porn are probably much less of an issue. but for those who are already mildly socially awkward, video games (or porn, or books, or television, or whatever) are an easy way out - one that will only make their problem worse. yes, i speak from experience.
at least books stimulate the mind, expand the vocabulary, give you something interesting to talk about with the opposite sex. the others, much less so.
i don't care if my kid sneaks a playboy under his bed. i want him to understand and appreciate sex. but a few nudie magazines are a lot different from having access to a virtually unlimited quantity of porn videos, some of which are horribly degrading and may affect his outlook on women and sex.
comparing stick figures with tits on a cave wall to the quantity and quality of porn available on the internet now is... well, we'll just call it silly.
for a relatively trivial amount of money, you could, were you so inclined, spend every waking hour of every day watching HD video porn, and always get fresh content, never being forced to repeat the same porn. from the privacy of your own dark room! without ever leaving the house! maybe you telecommute for a part time job to pay the bills, also without leaving the house. you order food delivered to your door step.
there is a completely unprecedented ability to gorge yourself on your (porn|videogame) addiction and avoid any social interaction whatsoever.
I don't think it means the end of the world or society as we know it, but you certainly have to acknowledge that it is a new phenomena, not comparable to... well, anything in human history.
while we are at no risk of extinction (from social awkwardness anyway), and while there are plenty of well-adjusted guys playing porn and watching video games (or maybe its the other way around), there is a lot more truth to the story than many here would like to admit.
playing video games and watching porn IS a much easier and more fulfilling way to spend your time than getting shot down by girls from school. boys ARE socializing less and withdrawing more.
when i have kids, i can guarantee you that the amount of time they spend playing video games or surfing the web will be very closely watched. and they damn well won't have either of those things in their bedroom.
i don't think that porn or video games are inherently unhealthy, but i do think that they are potentially addictive in the same way that many other things are - things I would want to keep tabs on my child's access to and use of.