310: "Community standards"

   Work with me on this. IF:

   1. The Internet as such is a community;
   2. Courts recognize the existence of prevailing community standards; 
   3. There is a significant amount of pornography on the Internet;

   THEN... pornography is obviously accepted by the Internet community,
and so to censor it would actually be a violation of the 'Net's
prevailing community standards. Right? 

Although this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I think there is something to
this idea of the 'Net being a "virtual community" of sorts (and not just
because Howard Rheingold says so). Let's say you live in a fairly liberal 
(as opposed to Berkeley|Cambridge|Amherst|Madison) high-tech area of an
otherwise mainly rural, conservative southern state. Depending upon your
beliefs and interests, you may have far more in common with like-minded
people in LA, Dallas/FW, Boston, DC, and Tokyo than with your next-door
neighbors. I don't know, but even before the 'Net, the idea of "prevailing
community standards" seemed like a straw man to me.


   W. John MacMullen............................http://ils.unc.edu/~macmw