The reason I’m thinking about video game development is that it is so much more about social belonging, psychology, and user experience than, say, a scientific journal. While the latter has a very functional existence, the former seems more fully human in its design philosophy.
From a lay anthropological perspective, the HTML experience is one of loneliness. The “hyper-dimensional” space created by linking one document to another (i.e. the world-wide-web) virtually guarantees that you will never accidentally bump in to someone on the web, like you often do in 3-dimensional space. No water-cooler chats. No polite exchanges. No serendipitous friendships.
The social foundation of humanity is nowhere to be found in the web, and is only just now being “tacked on” in the form of shared documents and collaborative web pages (and video and audio, thankfully!)
What would it have been like if the first “web apps” had to figure out how to write text in a game world, rather than, say, how to make a DIV full of text drag and drop with the mouse? What if we had characters in the “virtual space” we’d created for our species that represent ourselves, so we can interact in the common metaphors of non-verbal communication that we’ve developed over millions of years?
I think software is broken at a very high level–it almost purposefully avoids all of the difficult parts of human civilization, so that progress can be made in very narrow, niche ways. As a result, we have brought very little of our civilization online with us, and we are dismayed by the lack of civility and the weakness of our institutions there.
A dozen or so of us have banded together to make an open source world at https://www.relm.us, which we hope to be part of the solution. We don’t just want freedom online, we want a sense of belonging.