Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #69: Tech Commentary and Comments Done Right

Well, I've finally found a tech-related article on the InterWebs that essentially silenced the fanboy and anti-fanboy trolls, and actually inspired some great debate. On Twitter, Bev Robb of Teksquisite tweeted a link to a Tech Crunch article snippet, which led me to the full article at Crunch Gear: "On the Apparent Apple Suicide."

If you do not want to read the very thoughtful article linked above, here's the gist of it: At the Foxconn factory in China, one prototype next generation Apple iPhone went missing. After Foxconn security investigated and interrogated an employee, that employee committed suicide.

It is definitely a heavy news story, and the commentary of the article itself may lead one to examine his/her own consumer habits.

What's surprising, however, is the comments section below the article: So far (knock on wood), it is full of even-keeled debate, with minimal fanboyism and/or trolling. The serious commenters range from introspective (are these gadgets even worth buying, knowing the human cost?) to economically analytical (it is a tragic event, but this situation is a part of industrialization) to historically philosophical (post-industrial nation shouldn't allow currently industrializing nations to repeat past mistakes). Blame for this situation is spread relatively evenly and up for debate: Is this the accused factory worker's fault? Foxconn's allegedly inhumane policies, compounded by China's human rights record? Apple's contract of secrecy, fostered by American/Western corporate culture? The tech blogs' tabloid-like drive for the latest rumors? Consumers' trivial desire for the latest electronic trinket?

This debate may never be resolved, but I am glad to have read a civil debate session on the Web. It kind of confirms my hypothesis of "me-first" content versus "others-first" content, and its relation to trolling and flame wars. When it's about a cool gadget or some hype, that sort of "me-first" content brings out the worst and most trite of comments. But if the topic is ultimately about a world outside of ourselves and our want for stuff, then there's the opportunity (but no guarantee) for an "others-first" civil debate (at the very least) or maybe even a caring virtual community (at its best).

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article - sorry that I did not find it until now :)

    /Bev Robb
    Teksquisite :)


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