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RE: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto


RE: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto
by noteworthy at 7:58 pm EST, Jan 11, 2010

Decius wrote:

Encouraging creativity is not the purpose of something like Wikipedia -- the purpose is to collect a consensus view, which Wikipedia does quite well ... I guess the reason that this rant doesn't resonate with me is that reputation systems are the answer to this problem and they've been the answer for a long time now. Reputation systems credit individual contributions to the collective.

What are the most successful reputation systems in widespread use today? The consensus is that eBay and PageRank are canonical examples. However, as Paul Kedrosky recently noted of PageRank, "Google has become a snake that too readily consumes its own keyword tail."

I haven't read the new book, but I heard a frustration with the way most users think of the "ten blue links" as the beginning and end of the answer to whatever question they posed to Google. And since Wikipedia is often the first hit, many people default to the consensus view it presents, never stopping to consider alternative perspectives.

Going back to 2006, after the Digital Maoism essay was published at Edge, he wrote to Boing Boing:

In the essay i criticized the desire (that has only recently become influential) to create an "oracle effect" out of anonymity on the internet - that's the thing i identified as being a new type of collectivism, but i did not make that accusation against the wikipedia - or against social cooperation on the net, which is something i was an early true believer in- if i remember those weird days well, i think i even made up some of the rhetoric and terminology that is still associated with net advocacy today- anyway, i specifically exempted many internet gatherings from my criticism, including the wikipedia, boingboing, google, cool tools... and also the substance of the essay was not accusatory but constructive- the three rules i proposed for creating effective feedback links to the "hive mind" being one example.

Perhaps his views of Wikipedia and Google have shifted in the last few years ... In the Q&A, he speaks of creating "a human-centric internet", which could be shorthand for an internet driven by reputation systems.

I agree with you that he confuses the narrative on "information wants to be free" by conflating the long-range aspirations of artificial intelligence researchers with the real-world risks raised by the information security community.

From 2003:

There are real lessons to learn in participating in a intellectual community, and we don't GET those lessons from the "real world" because the "real world" is NOT an intellectual community. It's sexual and political.

However, I think the internet has been an intellectual community only insofar as its roots have been firmly with the nerds. As it becomes more and more mainstream I think it will feel less and less like a place where mature conversation occurs. Love and war are irrational. The amount of drama on the net seems to increase exponentially with a linear growth in population.

Basically, I don't think anyone is going to give you hell because you posted immaturely 10 years ago. I think that people will give you hell because you expressed a view that offends them 10 years ago. People can understand spelling errors, but not political ones. Because politics isn't rational, and it wants to be offended.

RE: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

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