The Hyperlink Delusion
A personal statement to upgrade the Web.
Unidirectionality of links is a major flaw in the design of the Web.

As cybernetics would say, it is time to steer the ship [1][2], because “if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” [3]. It is time to iterate the Web [4], and therefore, our relationship with it.

The very inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, thinks the same [5]. His proposal emphasizes and focuses on the importance of updating the link as we know it now [6]. Seems that maybe it is time to truly interconnect all the pieces of information that compose the Web [7].

It is impossible to know with certainty what will happen when we expose a new creation to the world, how it will behave, what the consequences will be. From the present, we can only imagine and speculate, and good or bad intentions may or may not influence the final result. The only certainty we have about the future is that it is uncertain.

This does not exempt us from the responsibility of our actions. There will always be bad actors trying to exploit the system for a personal benefit, but with the appropriate access to resources and information, we can cooperate not only to mitigate the negative effects but also to provide the necessary environment for collective development.

The Web has matured. Its users also did it and the new generations have grown up with the Web as an integral part of their reality. We invented new technologies, improved old ones and have systems and tools at our disposal that we didn’t have before.

It is time to review the past, what happened [8] and what did not [9], learn from all the accumulated experience and outline a plan [10] that allows us to act differently [11] if we really want to overcome the urgencies of the present while working collectively for a long-lasting positive impact for our society and for the rest of the ecosystem.

”‘Cybernetics’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘the art of steering’.”
Cybernetics — A Definition
“Paul Pangaro discusses how the fundamental concepts of cybernetics inform our perception of the world and of the quotidian.”
What is cybernetics? on Vimeo
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
“Usage of the term (Iterative and incremental development) began in software development, […] having been widely suggested for large development efforts. […] The basic idea behind this method is to develop a system through repeated cycles (iterative) and in smaller portions at a time (incremental), allowing software developers to take advantage of what was learned during development of earlier parts or versions of the system. Learning comes from both the development and use of the system, where possible key steps in the process start with a simple implementation of a subset of the software requirements and iteratively enhance the evolving versions until the full system is implemented. At each iteration, design modifications are made and new functional capabilities are added.
Iterative and incremental development - Wikipedia
“There are data in every aspect of our lives, every aspect of work and pleasure, and it’s not just about the number of places where data comes, it’s about connecting it together. And when you connect data together, you get power in a way that doesn’t happen just with the web.” Tim Berners-Lee, “The next web” TED Talk 2009.
Tim Berners-Lee: The next web | TED Talk
“The Semantic Web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. With linked data, when you have some of it, you can find other, related, data.” Tim Berners-Lee, “Linked Data”.
Linked Data - Design Issues
“There are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web today.”
Total number of Websites - Internet Live Stats
“First we need to understand how we got here by challenging the methodologies and narratives that are augmenting the individualism of our modern society of the spectacle and feeding the toxicity of the digital economy with user-centered designs for selfish desires and other ‘move fast and break things’ manifestations as the lean startups or hackathons.” The Everything manifesto.
The Everything Manifesto — IAM
“The term ‘hypertext’ (which gave birth to the term ‘hyperlink’) was originally coined by the pre-internet pioneer Ted Nelson in 1963. Nelson’s vision for hypertext significantly differed from its eventual interpretation in that he proposed two-way links between information, rather than the now ubiquitous one-way web links later outlined by Tim Berners-Lee. Nelson saw Berners-Lee’s work as a gross over-simplification of his original vision resulting in ‘ever-breaking links, links going outward only, quotes you can’t follow to their origins, no version management, no rights management’.” Ted Hunt on “The history of the hyperlink”.
“If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him.” Seneca
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein