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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Sue Gardner and civic engagement

This post is a collection of quotes from Sue Gardner in an interview with the Max Bell School of Public Policy in 2021. The interview can be found at this link. I recommend listening to the interview. Sue Gardner was the CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation from 2007 until 2014. There are 8 quotes listed below chronologically.


1. "I did say once that the internet is not doing well, and if I had to guess when I said that, I would say that might have been 2010 or so. Because I think now, it's probably more accurate to say the internet now is kind of a dumpster fire." (0:00)


2. "I started working on the internet in 1999... Back then everybody who was doing stuff, we all felt like there was there was a tremendous promise, and when I look back now it's really easy to see how intensely and embarrassingly naive we were. But we did believe it would usher in a revolution of access to information and freedom of expression and people would be able to reach across borders..." (0:34)


3. "It just we felt that it would be amazing for democracy and for civic engagement and that it would just be transformative." (1:22)


4. "...what the internet has changed is everybody has a printing press now. So access to me, access to information includes information from other people which therefore includes the right to speak as well... I think that we need, we want, we should be updating a lot of our thinking about this stuff..." (16:52)


5. "So if you want to make a difference, its a place where you could make a difference because the answers aren't known. You're not walking a well-paved road. You're blazing a path." (26:30)


6. "I so wish that I had a good answer to the question of what policymakers should do... I do not know and I don't think anybody knows for real. We do not know what the answers are." (36:42)


7. "The business model of the internet requires the amplification of inflammatory material to keep people attached to their devices so they can be served ads. It's that simple and so the solutions need to be somewhere at that level." (37:46)


8. "What would it look like if we could engage more? If... citizens could talk more directly to each other so much more easily. We don't think about those things anymore... We can't get there until we stop the sewage, but it would be lovely, imagine if we could realize some of that original promise. It would be great." (42:53)