Internet Quotation Appendix

This is a listing of quotations as a complement to my paper  Why the Internet is Good. It is not the end all and be all of cyber quotations. Instead, it is a selection of quotations that I believe in some sense capture the governance of memes as social norms on the Internet. $20020527$


"Architecture is politics." Kapor, Mitchell. (EFF) [source: confirmed by Kapor, estimates it was first said in 1991.]

"Inside every working anarchy, there's an Old Boy Network."

Kapor, Mitchell. (EFF) [source: John Perry Barlow likening Burning Man to "another working anarchy, the Internet." Confirmed by Kapor: "It was something I came up with during my EFF era, early 1990's. I used it a lot in speeches, but have no record of specifically where/when I came up with it.I was marvelling at how the pre-commercial Internet managed to operate. I found out it was because folks like Steve Wolfe and the NSF, Rick Adams at UUNET, and Vint Cerf used to reach agreements about what to do." ]

"We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code."IETF Credo. David Clark (MIT). [source: confirmed. Clark says, "This is a quote from a talk I gave to the IETF in 1992. The actual quote, printed on lots of t-shirts, is ... "]

"As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." John Gilmore (EFF).  [source: Gilmore states: "I have never found where I first said this. But everyone believes it was me, as do I. If you find an appearance of this quote from before March '94, please let me know." Also in NYT 1/15/96, quoted in CACM 39(7):13. Later, Russell Nelson comments (and is confirmed by Gilmore) that on December 05 1993 Nelson sent Gilmore an email stating, "Great quote of you in Time magazine: 'The net treats censorship as a defect and routes around it.'"]

variant: "The Internet interprets the US Congress as system damage and routes around it." [source: apparently Jeanne DeVoto.]

related: "You can't take something off the Internet - it's like taking pee out of a pool." NewsRadio. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway." Tim May. [source: primary. (May's signature circa 1996 as found in many archives.)]

"How many of you have broken no laws this month? That's the kind of society I want to build. I want a guarantee -- with physics and mathematics, not with laws -- that we can give ourselves real privacy of personal communications." John Gilmore (EFF). [source: Gilmore says: "Another memorable part of my speech on Privacy, Technology and the Open Society from the First Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in 1991."]

"In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance."John Perry Barlow (EFF). [source: Kapor in forward to Big Dummies Guide to Internet.]

"On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog." Peter Steiner. The New Yorker, page 61 of July 5 (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20), 1993. (graphic) There are many variants, including cartoons. [source: primary]

"Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds." John Perry Barlow (EFF). In Decrypting the Puzzle Palace. Communications of the ACM. Vol.35, No. 7 (July 1992), pp. 25-31. [source: primary]

"[The Internet,] A Superhighway through the Wasteland?" Mitchell Kapor and Jerry Berman. New York Times Op-Ed Page, Wednesday, November 24, 1993. [source: primary]

"The Internet isn't free. It just has an economy that makes no sense to capitalism." Brad Shapcott. Rule $19.99 of Usenet Rules. [source: Net.Legends FAQ]

"Cyberspace undeniably reflects some form of geography." Justice O'Connor. [source: none]

"Technology is neither good nor bad, nor even neutral. Technology is one part of the complex of relationships that people form with each other and the world around them; it simply cannot be understood outside of that concept." Samuel Collins. [source: unconfirm, quotation page]

"Congress will pass a law restricting public comment on the Internet to individuals who have spent a minimum of one hour actually accomplishing a specific task while on line." Andrew Grove, Intel Corp CEO, NY Times, 1/2/96. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Cutting through the acronyms and argot that littered the hearing testimony, the Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation. The Government may not, through the CDA, interrupt that conversation." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Your clickstream is your vote." Joseph Reagle (W3C). [source: Guest lecture at MIT's 4.195: Designing Electronic Commerce and Online Government class. Later publically expressed in correspondance (9/98) with Stanton McCandlish (EFF) on the Australian links list.]

"Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The single unifying force is what we don't want government running things." Joe Simms (ICANN counsel.) [source: Lessig, Governance and the DNS Process.]

" a powerful defensive weapon for free people. It offers a technical guarantee of privacy, regardless of who is running the government... It's hard to think of a more powerful, less dangerous tool for liberty." Esther Dyson, EFF. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

Metaphors and Similes

"Usenet: the Global Watering Hole." EFF's Extended Internet Guide. [source: primary?]

"Describing the Internet as the Network of Networks is like calling the Space Shuttle, a thing that flies." John Lester.[uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." Mitch Kapor. [uncofirmed source: Adam. (Reagle: I know this expression existed prior to its application to the Net because it was originally about MIT and was coined by Former MIT President Jerome Weisner, "Getting an Education from MIT is like taking a drink from a Fire Hose.'' In 1991 students captured the expression in a clever hack.) Kapor says it, "sounds like something I'd say. As you note, it's simply a variation on an old theme."]

"In case you haven't heard, the Internet is not a superhighway." Bill Washburn, Internet World, Feb 95. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Internet mailing lists are like Fox television shows. They have really cool previews, and they get you all excited about them, but they just don't live up to their promises." John Dobbin. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is like a gold-rush; the only people making money are those who sell the pans." Will Hobbs, IUMA. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is like a large jellyfish. You can't step on it. You can't go around it. You have to go through it.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is the most powerful magnifier of slack ever invented.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The net's a cross between an elephant and a white elephant sale: it never forgets, and it's always crap." Nemo, writing for Suck, on the nature of the Internet. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea -- massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind- boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it." Gene Spafford, 1992. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"The Internet is a telephone system that's gotten uppity." Clifford Stoll. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]


"There's a lot of weirdos on the Internet." Miss Texas Teen USA (during 1998 pageant) [source: unconfirmed web pages]

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky [source: unconfirmed web pages]

variant: "There's a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they'd eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn't true." Ian Hart. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

variant: "There ARE 1 Million monkeys sitting at 1 Million typewriters... they can be found right here on the Internet." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page." President Clinton, during announcement of Next Generation Internet initiative, 1996. [source: unconfirmed web pages]

"Some jerk infected the Internet with an outright lie. It shows how easy it is to do and how credulous people are." Kurt Vonnegut. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"America Online customers are upset because the company has decided to allow advertising in its chat rooms. I can see why: you got computer sex, you can download pornography, people are making dates with 10 year-olds. Hey, what's this? A Pepsi ad? They're ruining the integrity of the Internet!" -- Jay Leno. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Clearly, the greatest obstacle to the Internet's mass acceptance is its nonportability. Put bluntly: it can't be browsed while relaxing on the toilet. A shame really, considering how well suited much of its content is for precisely that arena." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"I think the Internet is underhyped. We think Java is bigger than Inet; so if Inet is even bigger than the hype, and Java is even bigger than that, well, you see where this is going." Sun CTO Eric Schmidt. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Internet users are flocking to the Vatican's new Web site (so they say). It turns out though, that most visitors are there to confess after visiting the Cindy Crawford site. Now, the faithful don't have to kiss the Pope's ring - you just double click on it.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"On the Internet, some people find love at first byte.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet, of course, is more than a place to find pictures of people having sex with dogs." Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Time Magazine, 7/3/95 p 40. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Unfortunately, it seems that the way Usenet is set up, women are the zebras, and men are the lions, and the Internet is one big Serenghetti." Chris Zelek. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Well why don't you call the Internet and ask their techincal support personnel for help?" AOL tech support person. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"[The Internet provides] a delivery system for pathological states of mind." Phillip Adams. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Spending an evening on the World Wide Web is much like sitting down to a dinner of Cheetos [sic]," says Cliff Stoll, a Berkeley astronomer who has been using the Internet since 1975."Two hours later your fingers are yellow and you're no longer hungry, but you haven't been nourished." WSJ, 1/25/96. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"If some unemployed punk in New Jersey, can get a cassette to make love to Elle McPherson for $19.95, this virtual reality stuff is going to make crack look like Sanka." - Dennis Miller [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"This is the snobbery of the people on the Mayflower looking down their noses at the people who came over ON THE SECOND BOAT!" - Mitch Kapor, on Usenet elitism. unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]


"Angela has no friends or neighbors who can identify her, because for four years she has lived entirely on the Internet." Caryn James reviewing The Net. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"For the cost of a burger and fries, every family can now join the Internet community, said Tim Oren, vice president and general manager of CompuServe's Internet Division." M2 Presswire 161095. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills." Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/11/97. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

Techie Culture

"Many web generations ago, the ARPA knights started a revolution against the telco circuit-switching empire and determined to destroy the death stars and their twisted pairs. I was one of those knights when our leader Vint Cerf, Father of the Internet, crossed over to the telco side of the force. Cerf Vader and legions of imperial stormlawyers are now defending the death stars against the insignificant ispwoks. The previous speaker in this forum series, the Father of the Web, Tim-Berners-Lee-Po -- who speaks over 6,000,000,000 dialects -- has been captured by Java the Hutt. You are Luke and Leia. The death stars must be destroyed and I foresee it." Bob Metcalfe (Ethernet inventor, 3Com founder, now VP at IDG). Probably first used at the MIT Enterprise Forum satellite broadcast from MIT's Kresge Auditorium, June 26, 1997. [source: confirmed from author.]

"Ring around the Internet, A packet with a bit not set, ENQ ACK ENQ ACK, We all go down!" Allon Stern, first written around 1990 while at the University of Maryland. [unattributed at source: Adam, confirmed by author.]

"The Internet is full. Go away." Networld/Interop '95 t-shirt. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Greater Internet Ladies' Knitting Circle and Terrorist Society." Leslie Devlin. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." Jon Postel. (IETF) IETF networking protocol design maxim. [source: USC]

"Usenet is 'the last uncensored mass medium.'" Steve Crocker <aq817@cleveland.Freenet.Edu> [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

The New Testament offers the basis for modern computer coding theory, in the form of an affirmation of the binary number system. But let your communication be Yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. -- Matthew 5:37 unknown. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." John von Neumann. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"It was a typical net.exercise -- a screaming mob pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse." unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"You couldn't get a clue during the clue mating season in a field full of horny clues if you smeared your body with clue musk and did the clue mating dance..." Edward Flaherty. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it." unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]


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