@AC Re: View from inside
"But unless there is some sort of truce, we will in some way have contributed to the downfall of the 'free' and 'open' web."
It's a consequence I'm happy to live with. And I expect to get plenty of downvotes from journalists who see no other source of income for saying so. There are plenty of good amateurs, and those seeking more professional reputation, providing content which interests their agenda enough for them to provide it for free. I'd suggest, that as with music, access to the highest quality of writing, analysis and comment will always be something enough people are willing to pay for. As one of the regular readers of lwn.net more than 10 years ago, we (the readers) helped the journalists there stay in business by encouraging them to accept subscriptions when they told us they were having to close shop due to lack of ad revenue. They are still writing regular and useful content now and I've maintained the subscription. Their content was worth paying for to us, because their articles saved us time discovering what we were deeply interested in.
The music business also probably isn't supported now so much by recording contracts and streaming as it is through ticket sales to live performances and associated merchandise. So music had to return to a more participatory and community event for this to work - turning the clock back to when artists donated time to early recording experiments without knowing about royalties, because their income was always seen as coming through live performance. I think there exist plenty of opportunities for traveling writers with established names and reputations to engage with support communities of interest who will lead a return to a kind of polite public discourse and politics based on public meetings, lectures and workshops involving those of like interest, with door fees to give access to the knowledge and wisdom on offer, plus regular subscriptions by core supporters who get a coffee table book or a T shirt sent to them every year. It's not that far removed from how I make a living as an academic.