Baa, Moo, Baa, Moo, Fuck Off.
The Internet was going to be great. It was a free form network that would develop in ways no-one could predict or control. The problem with unpredictable emergent characteristics is that they can't be guaranteed to be good.
The Internet's emergent characteristic is the herd culture. It's not the paradise of free and individual expression it thought it was going to be when it was a kid, no: instead it has grown into an adolescent smoking behind the bike-shed to look cool and circle jerking to free porn.
This herd culture manifests itself in two ways.
First is that, in a search for community, discussions on messageboards will naturally attempt to seek consensus. Once a consensus is reached, all individual identity is lost, everyone becomes a clone of each other, and discussion turns to simply repeating certain acceptable opinions over and over again.
"Baa as well!"
"What a community we have!"
The second is that those of similar opinions will tend to flock together. They can have their own sites, blogs and messageboards where only those who are the same as them can join in.
"Fascist! You're banned!"
Rather than being havens for people to be able to express their opinions, they become compounds where people need never have thier opinions questioned. Any damn fool with any damn fool opinion can find somewhere on the Net where no-one will tell them that their damn fool opinion is damn foolish. Love the Mortal Kombat movies? Go to the fan-site! Believe that god created homosexuals so you can have something to shoot at after hunting season has ended? Welcome in!
They aren't communities, they aren't open, and they don't promote freedom of expression or the growth of personal identity. They are just endless herds grunting at each other on the great digital plain.
It's the Internet's fault. The very structure of it that seemed to allow for open-ness actually promotes cliques, exclusionism and the collapse of individuality.
I hate the Internet.