Surprise! The Internet is chock-full of assholes
The Internet is filled with assholes who ruin it for everyone else.
That's the takeaway from two seemingly disparate news items -- the first that cloud storage service Bitcasa is ending its unlimited plan, and the second that Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee doesn't like that his legacy is being used to spread "the dark side of humanity," as the Guardian puts it -- published today. (I'm sure that plenty of other things could be included in this list.)
Bitcasa launched with an unlimited data plan that was promptly used and abused by a small number of its total users. It explains the reasoning behind the plan's disappearance in a blog post, where it claims that only the tiniest fraction of its total user base will notice the change:
[T]he reality is while we have tried to make our vision of infinite work, the low demand combined with the growing number of suspected abusers, means that supporting an Infinite plan is not a viable business for us. Our Acceptable Use policy has been a challenge to enforce with our privacy features, as we can only see the amount of of data stored – which for some customers, is at a level that seems impossible for individual usage.Put another way: the few people who paid for Bitcasa's low-priced unlimited data option took advantage of the company's privacy features in an effort to evade its rules. While "unlimited" data plans are often little more than a marketing gimmick in the first place, it's stunning to think that Bitcasa would abandon such a cheap marketing trick because of a few assholes.
Berners-Lee's complaints are more general. He praised the Web's ability to help the "wonderful side" of humanity to flourish, but he also complained about the phenomenon whereby people "who clearly must have been brought up like anybody else will suddenly become very polarized in their opinions [and] suddenly become very hateful rather than very loving" online.
The comments were made at the opening of the Information Age exhibit at the Science Museum -- which means that there are enough assholes online to make the person credited with creating the Web condemn a large aspect of it after he was invited to an event honoring his creation. If that isn't a sign that a large section of the Internet has an attitude problem, I'm not sure what is.
Say hello to the information age, where companies abandon their best tools thanks to abuse, and the man responsible for so much of modern society's advances has to condemn his creation during the opening of an exhibit that wouldn't exist if he'd never made the damned thing to begin with.