> On Nov 15, 2016, at 2:34 PM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Eric, I think these are questions that go far beyond online services. My public library carries books with descriptions such as: "Learn to interpret and understand the cosmic language being spoken by the crystals, and unlock your own mystical potential." This is crap, to put it mildly, and shouldn't be in the library. If the shelves are filled with pseudo-science and even pseudo-mysticism, we aren't doing our job. This is the whole "neutrality" thread - it's not "neutral" to serve documents without regard to their quality, especially since some of the anti-science/medicine things stated in books can do actual harm. We should at least do as much as Wikipedia does and label the fringe topics as *fringe*, not file them alongside the proven science without comment. (Yes, I know this has issues; I still think it's what we should do.)
I'm with you!
> As for "safe from surveillance" etc., libraries are not miracle workers. Everything we do is in the real world. Given that the NSA captures every byte conveyed from point A to point B, how *could* libraries do anything about that? We've tried, we've honestly tried to shield our users from overt surveillance, but our only hope is against inept vendors who can be staved off with a simple proxy server.
I'd make an analogy to the need for libraries to provide a "healthy" environment. Not sterile like a hospital, but free of vermin and dirt like a well-maintained restaurant. A healthy privacy environment has good data hygiene, surveillance-resistant communications and no unnecessary introduction of data-vermin. It's not so hard. Lots of libraries are doing it but too many aren't.
We're not going to be able to do much about focused attacks by state actors, but the fact that we're all going to die doesn't justify living in a pigsty.