Picking up right where the last article/blog post left off, I think this topic is deeply related and intertwined with the previous one (if you haven't read it, here it is).
One might wonder: "What is the application web in the first place? And how does it differ from the document web?".
Throughout this page (and series in general), I will be referring to the application web as the web which is more "interactive" - or what is commonly referred to as Web 2.0+. Which can be contrasted with the document/semantic web - resembling something more like this website: A collection of static interlinked (mostly HTML) pages/documents.
Without any intention of acting in a gate-keeping manner, I would like to start with a personal observation (I.E.: isn't scientific) I've made over time:
People that aren't technically-minded had not much of a reason to use the semantic web and would often find it "difficult to use" or "not user-friendly", meanwhile they tend to prefer interactive alternatives. They also seem to overwhelmingly prefer using more graphically-oriented computer interaction mechanisms (in stark contrast to text-oriented ones).
On the other hand, you've got the "nerds" and "geeks" - or to be more accurate: technically-oriented people, who seem on average to prefer more efficiency over user-friendliness and would thus have few issues using systems that are text-oriented (for the most part anyhow).
The internet in general and the web in particular started from research projects where most of the users of these interconnected intranets were more techinically-oriented.
Over time, it has become more accessible to the average person - which in my opinion has lead to the replacement of the semantic web with the application web.
This all would've been fine if it weren't for all the problems of the application web:
For starters, it is marketed as being "user-friendly" when in fact it just mostly exists to exploit users.
In which sane world is plastering ads, trackers and other nasty malware - considered "user-friendly"? Only a lunatic would truly believe that.
Moreover, it leads to crazy levels of software "bloat" and technical debt.
Why should reading a short news article require downloading megabytes upon megabytes of data before even loading the article's text or attached images?
Or for that manner, why has it become increasingly complicated to maintain websites? Because of all of this "inter-activeness" that is just ending up as a liability.
Consider the fact that this also leads to higher bandwidth usage, slower page load times (especially on flaky or outright slow connections), a higher carbon footprint (both at the server and client side) and a much wider attack and exploit surface - and all that for what? For delivering the same content!
Another problem caused by the application web is the fact that it allows and encourages such pervasive and intrusive surveillance of internet users.
A static document of text is just that: static - it is sent from the server, parsed and displayed by some client software and that is the end of it, the user is in full control.
Users have lost the ability to be independent and able to self-publish, one has to fit their opinions into pre-defined templates.
This has the unfortunate effect of making everything bland and just the same.
In effect, we're seeing the web turn into TV 2.0 - a curated list of corporate-sponsored blandness, as John Lennon once said:
"Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV" - Sadly, the modern internet is taking the place of the TV.
While on the face of it, the "Application Web" shouldn't have been more stifling to user freedom and expression in comparison to the "Document Web".
The technical implementations and the way it all evolved have lead to these huge differences, and we must retake our freedom or it will be gone.