The Internet Society in Geneva, Switzerland has announced its inaugural list of "Pioneers, Innovators and Global Connectors."
While the roll call includes brilliant people who made vital contributions to the Internet that remain largely unknown to a public that takes daily advantage of their work (like the guy who put the "@" in e-mail addresses) some critics are raising questions about who was included -- and excluded -- from the list.
Criticism has ranged from whimsical to well-deserved.
An alternative Gizmodo list, posted in response to that of the ISHOF, pegs Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning and Christopher Poole ("moot") of "lawless web bulletin board" and meme incubator 4chan as deserving inductees, while some Twitter users wondered why Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were snubbed. A Wired tweet announcing their coverage of the awards bemoaned the exclusion of Internet memes Dancing Baby and "Hampster."
"The inductees were selected from those people who were nominated," a spokesperson from the Internet Society told The Huffington Post in an e-mail.
The spokesperson would not indicate who is responsible for nominating individuals for consideration. The criteria for nomination outlined on the ISHOF website says candidates are judged by impact, influence, innovation and reach, and prescribes "no requirement for the period of time the nominee has worked in or contributed to the industry."
Al Gore, long the butt of jokes stemming from a 1999 CNN interview in which he stated that he "took.. initiative in creating the Internet" while in Congress, is an inductee for "sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet," according to the Internet Society Hall of Fame website.
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is an inductee for "[changing] the way people used classifieds [and] transforming it into a largely Internet-based industry," according to the site.
Gore was inducted as a "Global Connector," and Newmark is an "Innovator."