The Web has open nature from its birth to encourage academicians to share their documents that can be pointed by URIs. It can be said using a word “infiniteness.” We, however, now often “impoverish” such an openness to use Web for a wider purpose than expected at the birth.
In this post, we discuss several methods to make the Web “finite” to allow us to feel free to express ourselves on it.
Why Finiteness Matters?
As said above, openness is an important concept for the Web. However, the more widely the Web is adopted for communicating, the riskier unveiling our thought becomes; especially after social networking service era, flamings have troubled those who attempt to be open on the Web.
Some have still continued to discussing issues publicly exposing themselves to risks, others have withdrawn into fully private space. It’s clearly not sound for the Web. Therefore, we need some kind of finiteness for social community to enable liberal discussion, subduing the risk to be flamed up and not spoiling the openness of the Web.
Facebook has a feature that allows us to control who can see a post sensitively. We can set the privacy for each post. The privacy level can be from the perfectly private that is visible only to the author of the post to partly exclusiveness to some chosen people.
It seems to cover all the patterns that we can think. On the other hand, the capability can confuse us; we are not wise enough to memorize which posts are visible to arbitrarily taken ones. Such perfectness can disturb us from achieving sound community.
Recognizing such a limitation, we adopt a partly finite style: a semi-closed community that allows only those who are approved as community members to post articles and comments. It’s an implementation of the architecture proposed in “ネット炎上の研究” (A Study of Flaming on The Internet).
Control by Languages
We attempt to design another architecture to realize finite social community: limitation by languages.
At least in Japan, we can regard those who freely understand a certain volume of English article are relatively rare. Additionally, those who can understand other languages are rarer. Therefore, we Japanese can adopt some other languages to discuss issues that can be controversial.
Historically, some people used dialects for a military reason to keep things secret to foreign people while they had adopted a common language to communicate with foreigners. On the other hand, elites use such a common language to veil their activities from people. Latin actually functioned in such a way in medieval Europe.
However, technical progress has made such limitations ineffective. Even though we are not good at English, we can easily read English article using Google Translate that has been surprisingly improved being powered by deep learning.
Nowadays, we have to use multiple languages to control availability to our posts, which confuses translation systems and enables us to keep readability finiteness.
Implication for Literature
I have wondered why authors of literature don’t use multiple languages at the same time in their works. For instance, while Vladimir Nabokov was able to fluently use multiple languages such as Russian, English, French, etc., he even didn’t write his novels in equally-used multiple languages
Using many languages in one article or novel can be worth trying for us in terms of literary reason. It can enrich literature, I think.