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The morality of the links

WEINBERGER, David. The morality of the links. In: TUROW, Joseph; LOKMAN, Tsui. (Ed.) The hyperlinked society: questioning connections in the digital age. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2008.

Neste artigo, Weinberger pensa a moralidade dos links (se são bons ou ruins) não do ponto de vista do conteúdo a que nos levam, mas da própria arquitetura de compartilhamento da Web. Conclui que a Web apresenta um processo sempre moral de relacionamento e experimentação uma vez que compartilhamos nossos espaços e estamos sempre em processo de conversação, sempre em uma relação fruto dessa experiência. Sendo assim temos que atentar para como o outro se encontra no mundo, seus valores e compartilhar esses valores, aprendendo a negociar com eles.

A preocupação com a moral em rede é fruto de uma pesquisa que realizei com jovens de 15 a 19 anos no Programa Conexões Científicas – 2008, na qual notei que questões como o falso e verdadeiro estão adquirindo um aspecto híbrido e produtor de subjetividade através de suas conversações na Internet.


“The essays in this collection engage these questions and others in their attempts to undestand the social meaning of the hyperlink. The project started as a conference called “The Hyperlinked Society” that I convened at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication on Friday, June 9, 2006. Whith the suport of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foudation and the Annenberg Public Policy Center, about two hundred people from around the United States as wellas Canada, China, the Netherlands, Israel, Autralia, Germany, and England came together to address the social implications of instant digital linking. The guiding assumption of the meeting was that we need crossdisciplinary thinking to do justice to this multifaceted subject. Our panelists therefore included renowned news, entertainment, and marketing executives; information architects, bloggers; carthographers; audience anlysts; and communication researchers.

(…)the goal was to shed light on a remakable social phenomenon that peple in business and the academy usually take for granted.” (página 7).

WEINBERGER’S ARTICLE: The morality of the links

“We could perform an analysis of those links to get a sense of what sort of conections they’re drawing. If the vast majority of them are embede in text that consists of variations on “I hate that other site!” then may belief that links are good might be shaken, especially if the pages hosting those links were the most popular ones. But that’s an unlikely outcome.

Besides – and more important – the goodness of links comes not from the quality of the pages they point to or the semantic contexts in which they’re embeded. The goodness of links operates a level below that. So even if all the links on the Web were negative and hateful, I think I’d say not that links are bad but there’s something very nasty about us human beings.(…)

Our moral behavior and our ability to engage in moral argument are grounded in the same facts. You can’t be moral if you don’t recognize that there are other people with interests (…) You’re just a rule follower. To be a moral person – as you an I and just about everyone we know are – you have to be aware not only that there are others but that they care about what happens to them. (…) to care about the world the way that person’s does.” (WEINBERGER, 2008, p. 185).

“What counts is seeing how the world matters to the other person.” (página 186). (The effects of our action).

O cuidado sobre as possibilidades de influências e as suas conseqüências é o coração da moralidade. Sem esse sentimento a moralidade torna-se apenas um conjunto de regras. “With it, the rules become rules of thumb we only consult when we have trouble sorting out the jumbled ways our actions matter. ” (página 186).

“The Golden Rule that the possibility of morality itself depends on three fundamental facts: we share a world, that world matter to others, and the fact that it matters to others matters to us. If we remove any one of these three facts, the world isn’t moral in any way we cam recognize. (…) Put these three facts together and we live in a world in which our behavior is constrained because what whe do affects others who also care about what happens to them.” (página 186).

“I want to see if there is anything about the structure and nature of links themselves that let us say rasonable that links are good. Or, to be more exact, is there anything about their structure and nature that explains why at least some of us (I, for example) have a strong sense that links are good. (186).

“There is. If morality is based on our caring that we share a world with others whom that world matters, then is acting morally, we turn tword that world with others.” (186-187).

“We sometimes make progress in morality by feeling the feelings of others, but we make more significant progress by understanding how the world appears such that it evokes feelings. Sympathetic understanding is more powerful than mere empathy because it gets at more of the truth. (…) They merely sum up an event saturated with particularities. Our moral sense can go as deep as the world itself in understanding how things matter to affect us. (…) In this sense, then, morality is an infrastructure of connection in which we allow ourselves to care about how the world matters to others. That is formally the same as a description of the link structure of the Web.

After all, what do  we do on the Web? We link. No links, no Web. In liking we send people to another site (assuming we aren’t the sort of narcissists who link only to themselves). Where they can see a bit of the world as it appears to another. (…) Pointing people to a shared world, letting how it matters to others matter to us – that’s the essence of morality and of linking” (página 187).

“Morality and the Web have the same basic architecture? (…) That means the Web is the same as morality. Surely the web can’t be that important.” (…) the moral realm is not an isolated segment of human experience”. (página 188).

“Web’s moral structure is in the Web. There is something special, but not unique, about the Web’s moral architecture. The tools by which we communicate tend to reflect the moral architecture more explicity (…) because communication with each other, we turn toward the word that we share and that matters to both of us. I try to show you how the world matters to me, attempt to understand how it matters to you, and we try to share more of the world. In communicating.” (189).

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