How Warchalking Died

Friday, 10 January 2003, 2:19 PM EST

The purpose of this article is to explain how Warchalking has become obsolete. It is being replaced by Wi-Fi Zones that are being fueled by home networks, corporate networks, and even payphones. The internet will be all around you in all places but you won't ever need to care about Warchalking. Let's bury the idea and move along.

I honestly cannot say much about the usefulness of Warchalking. I never heard any personal stories. None of my friends talked about how Warchalking helped them. Nevertheless, it seemed like a real movement.

Unfortunately, when I first heard about Warchalking I felt that it was doomed. I felt it would die. My four reasons were rather generic:

This is a grassroots effort. Many grassroots movements die or are self-limiting. How will this grow and what is the motivation?

This is the activity of a group of amateurs. This is not an attack on the warchalkers. Instead, it is merely a reflection of a problem, namely that amateur activities are not often very well organized or funded. Without organization and funding, how could Warchalking last?

This will make the establishment unhappy. I'm not sure who is part of the establishment but I could easily imagine that companies, for example, wouldn't want their buildings "defaced" with markings. Warchalking is just another form of graffiti to them, or worse. Plus, they don't want people snooping around their networks?

Who would maintain the Warchalking network? In a short time, unless permanent markings were in place, who would maintain the markings? What is the incentive to help other people this way? I'm all for people helping other people, but once you get past the early adopters and Warchalking aficionados, who will keep this up?

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