Although I now make my living helping people understand the world of social computing and evangelise about its potential I am also quick to point out that the technologies in themselves don't bring about utopia. People are people and you get the good, the bad, the confused and the weak in about the same proportions as you do in real life. What I do believe is different is the degree to which the connections afforded by this new environment speed up and magnify our ability to do good - or bad - and also to be part of processes that used to be the preserve of others.
I got into blogging because I realised that my kids would spend more time in this online environment than even I have and that if I wanted it to be habitable I had to be in there making it habitable. I believe we all have a responsibility to engage, to say what we think and not to stand by when we see things being done that we disagree with.
It is for this reason that I am concerned at Gary's post about giving up and the blogosphere possibly collapsing in on itself and Shelley's post about Dave Winer being a plonker again. The best antidote to Dave's aggression and Shelley's terrier like response to it is Gary's off the wall creativity and sideways look at the world. Without any of the three of them the blogosphere becomes a lesser place.