Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Beware the kerfuffles of February

Posting a little poetry here to keep the interior world green. But first...

There is a kerfuffle ongoing in the gardening blogosphere, a place separate from the real world unless you are a gardener and on the computer a lot. The problem being it is February and there is always kvetching in February among gardeners.
Believe me, this is nothing new.

I used to read gardening bulletin boards in the 1980s when the internet was a baby and communication was all words no pictures, and screens were black or green and white, back in the days before the internet was a pretty place with expert digital photography all over it and even movies with sound! Gosh oh gee. How far we have progressed (she says in her old, ironic voice.)

In those days there were arguments, and flame wars over minutia and things could get ugly. I got flames on AOL for some legit advice. Minutia. I will not go into it.
I also posted the first (as far as I know) instance of a virtual online "party" to get folks talking with civility once again to each other. People who read the AOL gardening bulletin boards may remember it. There was also a virtual big dog involved who broke a lot of ice and melted hearts when he left.

In the 90s (my timeline is obscure - I can look it up for you but that exact time is not the point) some bulletin boards on big servers like AOL and Prodigy hired nice folk to mother (monitor) the flocks, and garden communities grew and leaders developed, and smart people made their own meeting places like Gardenweb and the Garden Gate and so on.
Then websites became cheap and easy, and blogs became free and even easier, and we are now at the totally diverse and decentralized place where we are today. I still discover new gold nuggets every day.

You can read forever, it's like Second Life ... a virtual world of gardening where the sun never sets and the boots never get muddy and backs never get rusty hinges. And now bloggers who feel lonely talking to their screens, or want to make communities to either limit or expand their world, or who like to get more readership and maybe earn something from their work are again changing the landscape of the virtual garden world.

Anyway, before I got off of my path, I wanted to say that the latest kerfuffle among bloggers is about something called "sharecropping" a word that you will recall derives from the once extensive practice of the poor man using another man's land to feed his family, labor his life away, and stay in lifelong debt bondage to the masters of our ownership society. A word invented by a post war return to feudalism.
How "sharecropping" was assigned to cribbing from someone else's blog is something I need to think about more - maybe you can explain it?

If you cut and paste from another person's work is it stealing, or is "imitation" (with a link OF COURSE) the sincerest form of flattery?

There are all sorts of opinions circulating and toes being stepped on and lines being drawn and I recall this happening (by happenstance) just before the 2000 election as well.
All I can say, since I am not really a joiner, even with my real life participation in gardening clubs, and I won't be kicked out of any "web ring" or blog list or anything virtually important for saying this, all I can say is...

Grow up folks, it's the internet.

Decentralization, that was the whole original concept of the internet if you recall Arapanet. You know, that thing Al Gore really did make a priority for government funding (And also recall how that got cleverly twisted by twisted people to use against him. Don't believe me? How many times did you hear people superciliously repeat, "Oh yeah, Al Gore invented the internet. He's such a liar..." If you care, figure out who the people were who invented that meme, it'll help you vote more intelligently next time if you take what those same people say with a grain of salt.)

Decentralization was supposed to make the Internet (which carries much more critical information than our virtual gardening musings) invunerable to attack by foreign powers or terrorists.

Diversity, gazillions of bits of information, that is what makes the internet an infinite gold mine for the development of our shared human intelligence and intercommunication.

We are not in high school, folks. Flame wars are for unhappy bored people, they are limiting and whiny and take up valuable time and waste our intelligence. Some people think it is a fun sport to stir things up.

we cut. we paste. we borrow. we recreate. we spread the knowledge, we build on it - if you re-format it yourself that is a bonus - if you have an idea, share it. Nothing is new, just unvisited. Nothing is sacred, just ideas that are unvisited.
Don't tell a True Gardener you can't plant a white garden, or even talk about a white garden, just because it was done before.
True Gardeners love to share cuttings, advice, dreams and schemes; they even work together for the fun of working together.

These ideas of "freely sharing" and grassroots multiplicity and diversity are being explored in the greater world: is our religion the only religion, is file sharing stealing, is privacy a dead concept, are cheap Chinese knockoffs killing the patent, is Microsoft buying Yahoo going to kill Google!
Maybe our opinions on these questions is a way of seeing how the world divides itself. So called conservative or so called liberal.

Hmm, Let me take a swing at those big questions:

One true religion: One political party's avowed branch of a small religion is in world scale not the only religion, the truest religion, or even the major religion. Please don't cram yours down my throat.
You like estate landscaping, I like a small niche garden. We're both gardeners, and we can enjoy each other's gardens without judgement over which is RIGHT.

File sharing is one way people who can't afford to buy vast libraries of music can form opinions to make wise purchases and find new (and perhaps non-corporate) artists. We do support artists we admire, once we have plowed through the loads of dreck to find them.
A garden can be grown from traded seeds or from expensive transplants, it's the art that matters.

Our privacy is robbed and data-mined and sold, and used against us, but a privacy is a goal listed in our once sacred Bill of Rights back when we were serious citizens who dreamed of democracy.
We garden bloggers share our personal information TO A POINT, but we draw lines and plant hedges. We hope readers will respect our private life in the spirit with which it is shared.

I don't shop at Wallymart. If you do, don't complain about China.
True Gardeners care about the planet, and the amazing life on it. And we try our best to act accordingly.

I heart Google. It is decentralized. It is not targeted to my preconceived beliefs and habits and data-mined preferences. MS buying Yahoo only will serve people who are afraid of being confronted by all of the new ideas that you run into out there in the great big world.
The virtual garden has it all. Have fun, learn, share.

These opinions are subject to change.
They are my opinions. If you have another way of looking at the world, write your own blog.

On this convoluted note, I cut and paste this from another blogger, but he didn't write it either and I misplaced the link (I am correctable, just write.)

The garden is rich with diversity
With plants of a hundred families
In the space between the trees
With all the colours and fragrances.
Basil, mint and lavender,
God keep my remembrance pure,
Raspberry, Apple, Rose,
God fill my heart with love,
Dill, anise, tansy,
Holy winds blow in me.
Rhododendron, zinnia,
May my prayer be beautiful
May my remembrance O God
Be as incense to thee
In the sacred grove of eternity
As I smell and remember
The ancient forest of earth.
~a Chippewa song

Post note: I want to mention here that my blogger spellcheck button has not worked for days now. Sorry if I have mispelled something, but hey, you get what you pay for, dontcha know.

1 comment:

kate said...


Now what a breath of fresh air your post was to read. You made many good points ... it is fascinating to see bloggers getting so inflamed about copyright issues. I always think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and if one has something good to say, then all the better that others are going to use it. Sure, it's polite to refer back to the original source, but if someone doesn't, big deal.