Jonathan Rauch seems to willfully ignore how easy it is to create good filters that locate excellent content:
3) If we had but world enough and time (that’s poetry, btw), we could search for good stuff all day long and the average low quality of the blogosphere might not matter. But average people on average time-budgets have to care if average quality drops, because that’s what they’re dealing with on an average day. (The same will be true, by the way, of historians. Can you imagine the task they’ll face, wading through all that online dreck?)
This is very clearly how he’d prefer things to be. Because if only he’s right things might just go back to the way they were before… or something.
Now I do believe that it’s important to think both about how the web exists in terms of potential use, and how it’s actually used. So if the argument is that people aren’t using good filters then that’s an argument I actually respect. But the idea that it just takes too long to figure out good filters? Patently absurd. You could set yourself up with a decent filter in 5 minutes with Twitter or an RSS reader. Perfecting the filter? Sure, that takes time. But that’s a whole other ball of wax.