Appendix 1-05 

A Brief History of the Internet 

Web site by Gifcom.

The Preservation of Errors

With the advent of electronic text there is no longer any
reason but the Seven Deadly Sins [enumerated above] for a
person not to share information. . .except. . .some value
added work to make the texts better than what passed into
their hands from previous editions.

However, with a kind of infinitely reverse logic, most of
the scholars dipping their toes into cyberspace, have the
espoused idea that no Etexts should vary by one character
from some exact paper predecessor, and that these Etexts,
new that they are, should be absolutely identified with a
particular paper edition which cannot be improved upon.

Somehow this reminds me of the Dark Ages, that 1500 years
during which no weighty tome of the past could be updated
because that would be the same thing as challenging those
revered authorities of the Golden Age of Greece, which we
all know can never be improved upon.

Their tomes were copied, over, and over, and over again--
with the inevitable degradation that comes with telephone
games [in which you whisper a secret message through ears
after ears in a circle, until completely distorted babble
returns from the other side].  Even xeroxing has this bad
result if you do it over and over.

Therefore scholars developed a habit of searching for any
differences between editions, and referring back to older
editions to resolve differences, because the more copying
the more chances for the addition of errors, comments and
other possibly spurious information.

This was probably ok for the environment they lived in...
but a serious failing caused the Dark Ages which lasted a
VERY LONG TIME by anyone's standards, and served to warn,
in a manner we should NOT ignore, that this should not be
the way things should be done in the future.

A Book by Michael Hart