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It's a narrative that plays very well on HN, that <insert industry here> are not only obsolete but evil and what's more stupid and we - the enlightened software developers - will free humanity from their shackles. But the world is a good deal more complicated than that. And not least because what most software people here do wouldn't really be missed if it went away. Ask Altavista and Myspace about that.

Of course the world is more complicated than that - but just saying it's more complicated is not a constructive contribution.

We can talk about problems we perceive and try to solve them, or we can sit around saying things are complicated. Let's do the first one.

That ground has been covered many times. Hotels it turns out do things that AirBnB doesn't, for good reasons. Taxis it turns out do things that Uber doesn't. Yadda yadda. My critique is intended of the theme, not any specific instance of it.

You probably consider yourself neither stupid nor evil - try to remember this when it's your turn to be "disrupted"...

Well, then I agree in abstract. I'm not suggesting we disrupt publishing, or try to save it. We (loosely the open science movement) are trying to fix our own field. Publishers serve a purpose, but some of what they do is harming us. We're encouraging the ones that can be encouraged to change. We'll force the ones that wont be encouraged.

You're right - I don't consider myself stupid or evil. But if I ever do become those things and it hurts others, whether I realise it or not, I hope someone forces me to stop.

> Ask Altavista and Myspace about that.

One particular search engine or one particular social network wouldn't be missed if gone, but I bet search engines and social networks would be missed if they all went away completely (and it would also be pretty bad if the Internet shut down entirely).

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