The problem is the bullies, corporations and the police. We planted a garden. A wonderful rose garden. And there were people stopping to look at it and say "hey, that's neat!" and we, the good natured fools we are, thought it would be great to open our garden to the public, so they can come in and enjoy it. And hey, who knows, maybe some of them might want to plant a few roses themselves? We can only benefit from it, right? So we let them in, even showed them how to plant roses. And while they were not really too good gardeners, we handed them a few tools to make the work easier for them. And some of them (ok, a handful of them) actually went and built something nice. Most just wandered about and smelled a few roses. We even built them a few paths they could wander on so they don't accidentally stumble upon that field we built that camo net over, ya know, with our "special spices". A few came in and trampled all over the roses. We shrugged and grabbed them and threw them out, because we not only know how to plant roses, we also know how to use their thorns to smack those bullies about and give them a wedgie on their way out. We build this garden after all, and we know every plant and every bush here, you can't hide from us! Well, ok, I admit, some of us thought it's fun to make fools out of the idiots that have no idea how to plant roses and snuck into their gardens when they weren't looking (and too stupid to close the door so people can only look but not touch), dyed their roses pink and blue polkadotted, mostly for fun and to ridicule them. It was good natured fun, hey, we did that to each other too and we really had a good laugh! One cardinal mistake we made is that we built a few paths to the camo net patches, too, because, hey, they're nice folks and wanna have some of the good stuff too, what's the harm in giving them some? Well, there's not really a problem with that, but when the bullies trampled across our fields, they also trampled through the fields of those that can't defend themselves, and these guys started to call for the police. And they eventually stumbled towards our camo net patches and, well, erh... well, they decided that it's a problem, ya know? If we hadn't built paths to them, only we would have found our way to those "special places", through the hedges and the overgrown paths that need machetes to get to. Few policemen had those machetes... Also along came the corporations who found out that people love to wander in our nice garden and started to built there too. At first, we didn't bother to worry. Like the native americans didn't worry when the first whities came along, we let them settle in our garden. Until suddenly we were told that we can't go to a few places of our garden anymore because that's now off limits. In our own garden! Not to mention that they were crying bloody murder if you went and polkadotted their roses! And now we're sitting here, in our ever shrinking corner of our once wonderful garden, trampled down by the masses, broken up into lots by corporations with a policemen at every corner making sure you don't plant where you're not supposed to, and of course that you don't try to camo net anything. If there's any lesson to learn, than that we should not let the masses in next time we build a garden. The seeds will be more expensive, granted, but at least we can grow what we want and keep the harvest.
The internet was our garden. And a beautiful garden it was. Sure, some fed agency created it, but let's face it, they used a fraction of the lot and we didn't really care for their supersecret bases they had littered about. There was so much empty space in between! And that lot we cultivated. We built a few nice trees and in their shadows we relaxed, we planted beautiful roses and yes, a few fruits and vegetables because, hey, it's always better if you grow it yourself. And ... heh, well, yeah, we had a few corners here or there where we grew that "special weed", ya know, but nobody really gave a shit, it was just us. We were pretty good gardeners. Well, you pretty much had to be in those days, if you didn't know your way 'round with rake and shovel, you didn't really get much out of it. Still, we were quite happy with it. So happy actually that we thought we should share that. I mean, there's so many people out there who don't even know just how great the garden is! And we invited them in. They looked around and, well, most of them didn't quite "get" it. Sure, it was nice, here or there, well, if you're into botany, that is, but it's kinda hard to get around and find your way through the jungle, and using a machete wherever you go, phew, hard work! But a few of them stayed. They didn't quite know what they do, but we handed them a few saplings and some seed and some actually managed to learn a thing or two about gardening. Sure, of course a few smartasses tried to steal our stuff, but we usually didn't have much of a problem to whack them with our shovel and get our stuff back. And, heh, yeah, we, too, went into each other's yards and played some pranks on each other, painted their roses black and the like, but it was all in good fun! And hey, they sure liked our ... ya know, "special stuff". They still had no idea how to grow it, but they were quite willing to help us share everything with everyone, as long as they got their share, too. And, well, why not, pass the blunt! That was about when the corporations noticed that, hey, where did all the people go? They took a look at the garden and they went batshit crazy. I mean, sure, we knew that it's great, but we never saw anyone go so insane about it. They saw it as the next big thing to make money with, and we laughed. Money? With this? Dude, you can't make money out of a system based on freedom and sharing! Everything in here is free. Yeah, in both ways. True. You can't make money in such a system. Unless of course you change the rules. And changing the rules, they could. I can't help but think that this must be how the natives of the US felt after they were "discovered". Because we had to face that there are suddenly areas in what we considered OUR garden where we couldn't go anymore. Worse, something that was the staple of our culture, going to a guy who did something great and asking him for a sapling of his wonderful tree. Became anathema. Instead of you SHOULD imitate and build on top of mine, the new creed was you MUST NOT. This rule, of course, did only surface after they themselves took from our gardens what they could possible rake together quickly. You might understand our utter disbelief and of course outrage when we noticed that turnabout is not fair game. Well, we have had our share of trolls and nuisances before. Long before we already had to deal with people who trampled through our gardens or were a general pest. Our solution was simple, we took our superior gardening skills and whacked them from here to next week with our shovels 'til they either learned to play nice or left for good. This didn't work out so well this time. No, not because they had the better gardeners. But they didn't need to. They had a much more powerful weapon in their arsenal: The law. First, they ensured that the laws would benefit them, and then they used it against us. And despite how despicable it may be, we have to admit that it is quite efficient to have others take care of your battles, especially when you know that you cannot win a conventional war. And now we're sitting here in what's left of our once beautiful garden. The once mighty jungle has been tamed and civilized, what used to be interesting and a land for explorers is now divided into lots that you may buy instead of simply use. You can get there easier now... well, if you prefer using long winding roads to a direct route, but the long winding roads are necessary so you pass by all the billboards that block your view to what's really interesting. Of course you may not step anywhere, only where you're allowed to, and don't even think about taking anything, rest assured it's for sale, not free. So we're sitting here now, at the edge of something we once knew as beautiful and free. We're looking at it and we wonder what we did wrong. Where did we fail? And I can only come up with one solution for when we try something like this again: Don't invite the masses in. Keep it to yourself. It's the only way how you can really keep it. And the only way you can do without a camo net over your herb garden.
Time: UTC [ +10]