San Francisco, California

Why the web is such a mess

This video by Tom Scott about the early history of the web and how we found ourselves in a nightmare of popups and bad web design is worthy of your time. Tom walks through the EU’s legal confrontation with shady advertisers and why so many people are incentivized to be jerks.

Something like this comes around every so often. First it was popups, and browsers faught back—blocking popups by default. Then cookies, which the government sort of clumsily fought back against. Not so long ago it was large interactive ads and now today it’s sort of a combination of enormous ads and Bitcoin (ugh) mining where someone will effectively hijack your computer to run stupid math problems so that they can gather $0.0004 a day.

I get the need for advertising on the web, but what I don’t get is this sort of approach where a large number of people see the web as a gold mine—a place to extract resources from—instead of as a community to contribute to and build up over time.

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