Bugmenot Bugs Me

When I’m cruising for nuke news for my NukeBeat blog, I am frequently annoyed at news web site registration. Here’s what I do: I register if I really want to read the story, or else (more frequently) I just blow it off.

Why don’t I simply use BugMeNot? Because it’s a violation for me of a pretty simple and quite effective principle of effective and sustainable human interaction. They’ve got something I want, and they ask for something in return. If I don’t want to give, I’ve no reasonable expectation that I should get. Why has this simple ethical principle, which is so usefully expected and honored in our face-to-face interactions, been so freely abandoned by such a large segment of the ‘Net community?

Look, a little sheepish BugMeNotting is no huge deal. This isn’t like genocide or something. But I’m frankly amazed at the brazen argument the BugMeNotters make (laid out in arrogant detail in a comment thread over at Poynter and in their own FAQ) – registration is bad – “waste of time,” “annoying as hell,” “breach of privacy.” But rather than just walk away from the deal, they argue this justifies cheating.

That’s a bad basis for sustainable human interaction.