Democracy/cyberspace/Castronova/Lessig: the single most interesting nondevelopment in cyberspace is that,again, as Castronova puts it, “one does not find much democracy at all in
synthetic worlds.” (1) The one real exception is a world called “A Tale in the Desert.” (2) Democracy has not broken out across cyberspace, or on the Internet. Instead, democracy is a rare exception to a fairly strong rule—that the “owner” of the space is the sovereign. And in Castronova’s view, the owner is not ordinarily a very good sovereign: In sum, none of the worlds, to my knowledge, has ever evolved institutions of good government. Anarchy reigns in all worlds. (3)
To the extent sites are sovereign, they aremerchant-sovereigns.Our relationship
to them is the same as our relationship to McDonald’s.
David Post: Communities in cyberspace, Post argues, are governed by “rule-sets.”We can understand these rule-sets to be the requirements, whether embedded in the architecture
or promulgated in a set of rules, that constrain behavior in a particular place.
1. E. Castronova, Synthetic Worlds, 207
2. Ibid., 216.
3. Ibid., 213._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Code: Version 2.0 New York 2006ff