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Carping Over Creative Commons

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the self-proving-thesis dept.

The Media 276

scubacuda writes "Arnold Kling, in his article, Content is Crap, writes, 'While there are many Net-heads who share Dan Gillmor's [and Larry Lessig's] enthusiasm for Creative Commons, I do not. It has little or no significance, because it is based on a strikingly naive 60's-retro ideological view of how content intermediaries function.' He compares artists' works to, well, raw sewage that publishers filter into something that can be later consumed by the public. 'What Creative Commons lets you do as an author is label your stuff before you flush it down the toilet.' Kling points to Bayesian Intermediaries (filters based on flexible keyword weights and 'trained' by user preferences) and weblogs as good ways to filter out the drivel that many content creators produce. (Dan Gilmore and Siva Vaidhayanatha respond, to which Kling responds in his blog."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | about 12 years ago | (#5089217)

Tee heee....he said "crap." HA HA! What a silly fuck-jiggle.

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089612)

Translated to and from Chinese:

" Arnold Kling, in his article, in the content is Crap, writes, ' when has shares Dan Gillmor many Net-heads [ and Larry Lessig ] warmly for the creative common traits, I do not do. It have one spot or do not have the significance, how content intermediary function because it do act according to the striking naive 60's retro thought scenery. ' he with, very good compare artist's work, the publisher filter into something possibly the unfinished sewage which later will consume by the public. the ' what creative common traits lets you do because the author is the label your material flushes before it in you strikes but actually this washroom. ' Kling intermediary (filter basis nimble keyword weight and ' trains ' to Bayesian by user preference) and the weblogs likely good way filters drivel which many content creators causes. (Dan Gilmore and Siva Vaidhayanatha responds, Kling responds in his blog. "

"filter out the drivel" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089219)

That pretty much dooms slashdot, don't you think?

filtering itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089271)

slashdot is running pretty damn slow right now so it's doing a good job of filtering itself.

Re:"filter out the drivel" (3, Interesting)

ZoneGray (168419) | about 12 years ago | (#5089525)

Well, I don't think you could build much of a publishing company based on the material in the -1 posts. Perhaps Gilmor will give it a go.

But in reality, /. does have two valuable filtering functions in place; there's user moderation, of course, and there's the fact that only a few people are allowed to post stories in the first place. It was the user moderation that first caught my attention, since it's pretty effective at filtering completely worthless content (as opposed to filtering stuff that I simply disagree with). Likewise, even though I may think they're shallow, self-important, and ideologically confused, the /. editors manage to present a site that has a distinct personality. Soul, if you will.

This is one of the things that bugs me about Google News... yes, it does a great job of aggregating links to news stories. But there's no people behind it, and it feels that way when when I look through it.

Re:"filter out the drivel" (3, Interesting)

6hill (535468) | about 12 years ago | (#5089642)

This is one of the things that bugs me about Google News... yes, it does a great job of aggregating links to news stories. But there's no people behind it, and it feels that way when when I look through it.

Of course, this can be seen as a benefit, too. No person's views and unconscious bias are inflicted on you; instead, you get all available sources and opinions presented as equals in their worthiness. Then it's the reader's task to make an educated judgement of the issue, as free of editorial bias as possible. It requires critical reading skills, but I personally prefer to chew my own news, as opposed to digesting ready-chewed stuff.

But seriously (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089225)

Who really cares what someone thinks in their "diary" cough "blog"

opinions are like assholes, we all got one but invariably they are full of shit

Re:But seriously (5, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 12 years ago | (#5089274)

Your post manages to agree with the poster by pointing out that he is full of shit.

+1 for Irony--Hell I've even got a web log in my sig, make it +2

Raw sewage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089229)

If artist produced content is raw sewage, then publishers do act as filters. Filters for seperating out the most concentrated of toxins to later feed to the public. Or at least that is all I have observed them do for my few years of life.

Oh Christ, the old Social Darwinism Argument Again (5, Insightful)

Interrobang (245315) | about 12 years ago | (#5089571)

This argument is not new in publishing circles. In fact, everyone from publishing industry executives to Spider Robinson (in a televised interview on the Space Channel) takes a crack at it every so often, and it goes like this:

Since Sturgeon's Law applies to all forms of content creation, publishers serve the valuable function of separating the wheat from the chaff and presenting us, the buying/reading public, with only the best of what's available.

Unfortunately, there are a few flaws with this argument. First of all, who decides what's the "best"? The guy who gave the go-ahead to publish The Bridges of Madison County? Literary critics? The New York Times Review of Books? Secondly, using sales numbers as the only arbiter of "good" or "bad" in an artistic venture is a really strange way of looking at art, one which sort of presupposes that that which is marketable is (de facto and de jure) automatically "good." (See argument one.) Thirdly, it's entirely possible for famous, well-respected, and talented content creators to have their entire careers axed by one failed venture. Don't believe me? Ask Norman Spinrad [tinet.ie] , author of Bug Jack Barron, and The Iron Dream among others. It happened to him, and it's happened (according to my own research) to many other authors (I'm afraid I can't really name names here, though).

See, the way the publishing biz operates, it works similarly to many areas in our society (like electoral politics, and the private sector, for two): If you've already got the "name" and you've got lots of money (or a couple of bestsellers in the hole), you're practically guaranteed to stay a success. If, on the other hand, you have to compete against the "brand names" and everybody else submitting their work 'over-the-transom', your chances of achieving even that first foot-in-the-door publication are very small. Your talent, or lack thereof, isn't usually much of a deciding factor.

So given all that, these guys making this Social Darwinism In Publishing argument really piss me off, because they're completely disconnected from publishing biz reality as we know it...either that, or they've got their lucrative contract, so they really genuinely believe that the stacked deck affords equality of opportunity. Therefore, obviously, the rather McLuhanesque (the retro-60's naivete Kling refers to?) levelling Creative Commons is a bad thing. Right.

Re:Raw sewage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089594)

I whole-heartedly agree with your thoughts and opinions and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


Of course nobody mentions... (3, Informative)

Josh Mast (1283) | about 12 years ago | (#5089241)

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com] , a super-keen new book just released under creative commons.

Re:Of course nobody mentions... (2)

Mac Degger (576336) | about 12 years ago | (#5089691)

Yeah, that popped up on wired acouple of days ago...reading it now on my palm, 76% done. It's pretty decent too, with some neat idea's which I think will pan out in a century or two. I'm just trying to figure out why he calls it 'Whuffie'...world honourarium fee?

CC needs NoEndorsement (2, Interesting)

sbwoodside (134679) | about 12 years ago | (#5089247)

I would add an additional BSD-like clause that the name of the contributors cannot be used to promote the work:

* Neither the name of the nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

I don't know why the CC people didn't include something like this.

a fantastic troll (4, Funny)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | about 12 years ago | (#5089250)

i wonder if kling built his article specifically to troll slashdot based upon keywords. Let's see: 1) Mention notable figure (lessig) check! 2) Take contrarian view (content creators are sewage) check! 3)Include buzzword (bayesian filter) check! 4) For bonus points, if at all possible, namedrop Google. check!

Troll complete!

Re:a fantastic troll (1)

blingitybling (624195) | about 12 years ago | (#5089294)

You forgot two steps: 5. ..... 6. Profit!

Re:a fantastic troll (1)

sir99 (517110) | about 12 years ago | (#5089378)

5. Get lots of ad revenue from page views.

6. Profit!

i propose a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089263)

Remove the ideologists, Left and Right, Liberal and Authoritarian, starting with those in the highest towers, and just leave those who wish to get on with work.

There is one effective campaign that unites us. The request to, "Leave us alone".

Re:i propose a revolution (0, Troll)

maverick41 (574379) | about 12 years ago | (#5089307)

And those ten people can solve the world's problems in a week.

Re:i propose a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089426)

That's odd. I find that most people teeter-totter on the middle ground. I know very few liberals and conservatives. I know many liberal republicans and conservative democrats though. The people at either end just usually have bigger mouths and are much more likely to speak out since they are so absolute in their feelings.

Re:i propose a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089726)

There won't be anyone left after your pitiful 'revolution'.

Raw Sewage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089273)

Sounds like what's written in the slashdot messages half the time...

Sewage?? (4, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | about 12 years ago | (#5089276)

Well I must say I don't like the sewage analogy, but overall I do agree with the point. I would say that instead of sewage, authors (anyone who is creating something) often produce the raw ingredients for a meal--and it is the publisher who "cooks" the meal.

Having experience at a small publishing company, I can say that a large number of authors have no idea how much work is needed to produce a book. Not just authors--a vast majority of slashdot viewers (and people in general) don't have any idea either I'm sure. Making a book even once an author has completed the manuscript is still time consuming and difficult--not just sending it to the press and saying 'done!'.

To anyone who says publishers aren't needed, I'd advise them to try a job at a publishing shop for a short time, and see how they like the work.

Re:Sewage?? (3, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 12 years ago | (#5089457)

Writing software is difficult, too. Yet is seems that there are thousands of applications out there that were written without the help of any major software company. Sure a lot of them are crap but the good ones often have a way of standing out.

You are still wrapped up in the idea of physical publishing. Physically producing a book is a difficult task that requires time and money but writing a book only needs a talented author and some friends who are willing to proof read.

Cooking the meal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089460)

No, the *author* cooks the meal.

The publishing company are either
1) The waitress who gets your food to you
2) The maitre'd in a posh place, who arranges the food on the plate aethetically.

Re:Cooking the meal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089597)

2) The maitre'd in a posh place, who arranges the food on the plate aethetically.

Publishing companies also make sure your book contains correct spelling and grammar before they publish it.

Middleman versus the author, artist, musician (5, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | about 12 years ago | (#5089465)

Having experience at a small publishing company, I can say that a large number of authors have no idea how much work is needed to produce a book.

While there is some truth in that of course, it is only part of the truth. The much larger truth is that without the content, the publisher has nothing, ZERO, zilch. Commensurate with this, the publisher does not really deserve much credit nor profit --- he is a middleman, useful, but still just a middleman.

Furthermore, the "no idea how much work is needed" response is often used to justify the continued existence of the middleman even when he is no longer necessary. If technology respected such words of caution, we'd have no desktop publishing, no home video and graphics production, and no home music studios. And of course, the individual artist would always be just a tiny cog in an immense machine.

The middleman does need to be put in his rightful place --- not necessarily extinction, but certainly in a limited niche.

Re:Middleman versus the author, artist, musician (5, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | about 12 years ago | (#5089556)

Bah, I'm sorry, I stand by my earlier statement--if you want to really talk about this subject get some knowledge first--go write a book or work at a publishing shop.

Your statement that "the publiher does not really deserve much credit nor profit" is ridiculous. Let me list a couple things that publishing companies do that authors are quite glad to have no part in doing--market books. The press with which I have experience largely works in college books and things like law books (ie, nonfiction). All publishers devote a signifigant amount of resources to sending people out to schools to get prospective sales--meaning more royalties for the author. How bout managing sales, shipments, warehouses? That's fun. Or dealing with supply vendors, printers, etc? That's great fun too.

Another area I'm quite sure you haven't thought about. In many cases publishers are looking for a book--a book to fill a particular niche, and they go out and find an author to write said book. So if the publisher recruited an author like this is it fair to say that the author has "ZERO, zilch" and does not deserve much credit or profit?

The publisher is NOT just a middleman--they DO take on many activities of middlemen, but the act of publishing a book is a process in which creativity comes out of the employees of the publishing company as well, and in many cases editors and others greatly help the authors.

I could keep going ad inf. But I'll just stop here..

Re:Middleman versus the author, artist, musician (1)

KDan (90353) | about 12 years ago | (#5089572)

I agree 100%. Publishers who complain about the "sewage" coming in through the door and which they have to sift through would do well to remember that their entire livelihood, 100% of it, depends on that sewage not stopping.

Sure, the filtering is a useful service, but it is certainly nothing that is worth such a high price, and doesn't have to be the sole realm of editors. Anyone can read through mounds of drivel and pick up the gems and tell everyone about them. Sure, it takes good taste, but the people who are bad at it will get filtered out (by the public).

Editors are very worthwhile, but not at any price.

Also, I seriously doubt you can teach a Bayesian filter to see the difference between a great story and a piece of crap that covers the same concepts and ideas.

So my conclusion about Arnold Kling is...

Your article is crap.


Re:Sewage?? (2)

chrisseaton (573490) | about 12 years ago | (#5089514)

Making a book even once an author has completed the manuscript is still time consuming and difficult--not just sending it to the press and saying 'done!'

But with the internet, 'publishing' my blog entry is just as easily as sending it to my server and saying 'done!'. As content creators start to funnel their shit, as the article suggests, towards the internet instead of dead trees it will become much easier for the authors themselves to do.

Re:Sewage?? (2)

Moridineas (213502) | about 12 years ago | (#5089579)

No offense to you (I don't even know if you have a blog), but a blog does not a book make, and most blogs are CRAP in my experience (not saying there aren't some good ones). I think people are taking the analogy of blog book too far..blog diary, maybe.

Besides...most authors do like to make some money of their works so that they can do what they like to do, and blogs aren't to conducive to those means.

Re:Sewage??-Information wants to be "filtered". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089567)

"To anyone who says publishers aren't needed, I'd advise them to try a job at a publishing shop for a short time, and see how they like the work."

What about all the "other" content filters out there?

What about music?

What about films?

The "consumer" gets to drink from a fire hose instead of a garden hose (information overload?) , and assumes the role of "filter". Darwin in action, and the "authors" are the casualties. Will the consumer get better results, or simply drown in the dreck, while the "pearls" get lost amoung it all?

Re:Sewage?? (2)

Kaa (21510) | about 12 years ago | (#5089660)

I would say that instead of sewage, authors (anyone who is creating something) often produce the raw ingredients for a meal--and it is the publisher who "cooks" the meal.

That's WAY overstating the role of the publisher.

The author creates, the publisher applies some final polish and does the gift wrapping. If you really insist on a restaurant metaphor, the author makes the dish and the publisher arranges it on a plate and adds a sprig of parsley on the side.

And, of course, that's only concerning literature. In things like music or painting the publisher has even less input into the final product.

Publishers are needed, no question about it, but saying that they actually "cook the meal" is absurd, IMHO.

Re:Sewage?? (2)

Moridineas (213502) | about 12 years ago | (#5089716)

Yeah, you're right, it is overstating the role of the publisher..It was the best I could come up with on short notice :)

But I do think your analogies, UNDERstate the role. I know it was suprising to me how much publishers actually DO do (such as sometimes it is the publisher who comes up with an idea for a book, and then searches out an author capable of writing such). interesting stuff.

Anyway, you're also perfectly right about music etc, I'm no RIAA et al fan.

chicken/egg problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089280)

Just what content does he think he'll be able to Baysian Filter without more open content licenses?

Do we need this? (1)

theophilus00 (469290) | about 12 years ago | (#5089282)

"In reality, publishers are adding value, not simply stealing. They add value by filtering out content that people do not want..."

Why do we need publishers to determine what we the people do or do not want? How could they possibly be as good at it as the actual consumers?

Re:Do we need this? (5, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | about 12 years ago | (#5089323)

Ok I can tell you a couple things that it's a 100% sure that consumers want in books. Good spelling, properly formatted pages, sentences that make sense, tables of contents and indexes that are correct, covers that look good, footnotes in proper order and together, uniform citation styles, diagrams referred to properly and in the right locations, and I could keep going. If you think all this is easy, I would advise you to seek a job in the publishing industry--sounds like some publishers could really use your help!

You wouldn't believe the state of some manuscripts that come in..

Re:Do we need this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089573)

To some extent, it's true that consumers want quality in books, and publishers try to provide this, but I don't think it's the main reason for publishers to exist. Heck, use a spelling-checker and spend a day putting it into DocBook and you've got more than half of those issues covered for free.

Plus, with a few notable exceptions (Knuth comes to mind), the books on my bookshelf have errors. Lots of them. Not just minor typos, either, but blatant lies, especially in technical books. If anything, the error rate in published books is higher than, say, HOWTOs or blogs.

Plus, files on the web can be corrected easily. My technical books are full of scribbles in the margins with corrections I've had to make.

The main thing publishers are good to me for are putting books on paper. The fact that people (including me) buy books that are available for free in the internet is a testament to this. Paul Graham's excellent book "On Lisp" is available for free on his website [paulgraham.com] , yet he has a list of a couple dozen people who want to buy a paper copy (it's out of print).

Re:Do we need this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089328)

Why do we need publishers to determine what we the people do or do not want?
You don't have nearly enough time to read everything (do you even have time to read every book that gets published every year? No.). So you need filters. You can't do it for yourself.

Re:Do we need this? (2)

Stonehand (71085) | about 12 years ago | (#5089380)

Quantity. The number of people who write, act, sing, et al is far higher than those that do it well, and random sampling from a consumer's POV is going to take a bloody long time to find the worthwhile bits.

Re:Do we need this? (5, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | about 12 years ago | (#5089400)

How many minor art film festivals do you go to? How many college author's books do you read? How many open art exhibitions?

The idea (which seems true to me) is that consumers do not want to have to choose between thousands of products most of which are bad but dozens of products most of which are good. Getting from thousands to dozens requires that 99% of the products be filtered.

For example I personally tend to for way more filtering buying almost always "greatest hits albums". I want multiple filters:

a) The group got a contract
b) The record was successful
c) Multiple records were succesful from the same group
d) The 10% best songs from the records were choosen.

I hate "live music" at bars and clubs because most of it is so bad. While I may be unusual in the degree of filtering I want for music, the basic idea is not atypical. Further many people have the same filtering for books (where I personally choose from a much wider range); and will only read books that are classics (i.e. have sold well for generations) or only read books that are massive best sellers. The Oprah book club (best new literary fiction each month) worked well because having to only pick 1 book per month Oprah could make it a very good one. Other people only go to the most succesful movies....

So no I don't think consumers have any interest in choosing between such a wide range of sources.

Frankly why are you getting your tech news from slashdot if not to get a filtered selection of the hundreds of tech news sites?

Re:Do we need this? (3)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 12 years ago | (#5089526)

Nice plan, except popularity has almost no connection to quality.

There's a ton of great but obscure stuff that you miss with this filtering approach, and a ton of highly commercially successful crap that you get instead.

Maybe you should try customized mix CDs. Then you can get songs *you* actually like, in the version/remix you prefer, in the order you want.

Re:Do we need this? (2)

Deagol (323173) | about 12 years ago | (#5089548)

The idea (which seems true to me) is that consumers do not want to have to choose between thousands of products most of which are bad but dozens of products most of which are good. Getting from thousands to dozens requires that 99% of the products be filtered.

Like we already don't end up filtering the crap that's already been filtered? Thanks, but I'd rather take my chances at sampling all of what's out there, rather than the top 5% of what the major media coglomerates decide is best to pump up on cable and radio airwaves.

I've sampled much stuff from mp3.com (before they sold out and started featuring Top-40 crap and screwing the indies that gave it a name to begin with), and have been more recently checking out stuff from cdbaby.com. I have to say that the indie stuff is no better/worse than what's out there in the mainstream. They both have a lot of crap, but there are some gems out there. Personally, I think I'm better off finding my own "hits" than the letting the radio do it.

I mean, really, half the hit songs become hits through sheer repitition of airplay -- subliminal, if you will. If a co-worker has a radio on all day, and I hear the same dozen songs eight times during my day, I'll very likely end up liking a song through familiarity. The other half of songs become hits via associations with TV shows, movies, and commercials. How many people truly thought Da-Da-Da was a cool song before the VW commecial?

'Cause You Get What You Pay For (3)

reallocate (142797) | about 12 years ago | (#5089424)

Take a look at all the semi-literate, poorly spelled, poorly argued, unsubstantiated crap that infests the web, e.g., most Slashdot comments. The crap is free, but you -- the reader -- have to spend your resources wading through it. The web trades off ease of access for little or no selection, filtering, and editing.

People who make a living by selling their work -- writers, musicians, etc. -- aren't about to threaten their careers by abandoning traditonal publishing and dumping their work on the net, free to all comers.

Re:'Cause You Get What You Pay For (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089576)

You now owe me $.23.

In other important BLOG news (3, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | about 12 years ago | (#5089284)

Bill Finklebork thinks the donut he bought this morning might have been a day-old, it tasted a little stale. He also thinks that someone should be airing Beavis & Butthead in syndication.

Truly this is important to us all, as it affects society at it's very core.

Re:In other important BLOG news (1)

Winterblink (575267) | about 12 years ago | (#5089459)


Had I any mod points left you'd get +1 for that one :) Too true.

Major label music (2, Funny)

kefoo (254567) | about 12 years ago | (#5089289)

...filter out the drivel that many content creators produce

There goes most of what the major record labels produce.

Re:Major label music (1)

maxentius (603949) | about 12 years ago | (#5089336)

Exactly. If the publishers are adding value to the content, why is so much of it still complete crap? Could it be that the publishers are no more sophisticated than their audience, or are they simply unwilling to take chances?

Translation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089296)

Hi, I'm Arnold Kling, and I'm part of the old-media hegemony. And as such, I have a vested interested in convincing you that you like publishing the way it is currently. I believe that you plebes are too simple-minded to appreciate creative content without it being spoonfed to you by megacorporate filters that will tell you what you should want to see/read/hear.
Because everyone knows that content (like a VanGogh painting or a Beethoven symphony) couldn't possibly be any good until you are told by "experts" that it is worth consumption. So sit back, you unwashed wretches, and keep paying my salary.

Correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089297)

Individual software writers, authors, and musicians produce something close to raw sewage. The computer programs, books, and music that people buy are closer to drinkable water.

The first draft of his article read, "...are closer to carbonated sugar water with an instant winner twist-off cap."

Words Slashdot luvs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089303)

1) WiFi
5) DeCSS
6) Bayesian *
7) Anime

* This is the new favourite of the Slashdot eds, who try to fit it in as many articles as they can.

So are Bayesian Filters really that good? (5, Insightful)

Mantrid (250133) | about 12 years ago | (#5089304)

The author of the article seems to think that Bayesian filters are going to change everything and become the personal editors/publishers of tommorrow. Is the technology really that promising? (not a rhetorical question by the way...)

(Ironically though, the author is assuming that his own writing isn't crap)

Except... (2)

unicorn (8060) | about 12 years ago | (#5089490)

His writing goes past a filter/editor before getting tossed up on the website, I'll wager.

Re:So are Bayesian Filters really that good? (2)

Bnonn (553709) | about 12 years ago | (#5089491)

Or perhaps he just realises that his work is crap before being edited by the guy his online publisher supplies, and just assumes that he is the best writer out there so everyone else must be the same. I mean seriously, the guy wants to read all the news on the Middle East, but not any of the jokes that get sent him? No wonder he's so goddamned sour.

He's just trolling--he completely misrepresents the goals of Creative Commons in the most unabashed way, and as someone mentioned previously, it looks almost like he's just trying to gain notoriety on Slashdot by using specific keywords and techniques.

Re:So are Bayesian Filters really that good? (3, Interesting)

Mantrid (250133) | about 12 years ago | (#5089564)

Heh, so he's created a "Bayesian Push Filter" for /.? Better get a patent on that process!! Hmmm that's all we need - picture a Bayesian filter app, built with spyware that sends its info back to homebase, so they can sell spammers ways to trick us into reading their spam!

Re:So are Bayesian Filters really that good? (5, Informative)

philovivero (321158) | about 12 years ago | (#5089687)

The author of the article seems to think that Bayesian filters are going to change everything and become the personal editors/publishers of tommorrow. Is the technology really that promising? (not a rhetorical question by the way...)
No, they are not that good.

While Bayesian filters will tell me that Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com] (a book you can find online and read today) isn't a vampire story, and thus can avoid showing it to me when I want to read a vampire story, it won't tell me which of the three are best:

  1. Interview with the Vampire
  2. From Dusk 'til Dawn
  3. Queen of the Damned
I want some computer to go out, check those three movies, and tell me which one is a gem and which two are crap.

Interview with the Vampire touched on emotions, morals, dilemmas, and was an epic story covering hundreds of years, and was extremely well-done in cinematography, and Anne Rice said it was a very good end product.

The other two? Well, watch them. Tell me a Bayesian filter would be smart enough to differentiate the three. They couldn't, especially since I would include that I like Quentin Tarantino (he was in Dusk-->Dawn) or that I like to see nude women (Queen of the Damned, although I haven't actually watched it, supposedly has some good nudity). My Bayesian filter would definitely waste my time.

The only hope is for a trust system, actually, not unlike that proposed by Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com] . Some way to find out which of the three movies were liked by people whose opinions I respect.

Ummm... (0, Troll)

sxltrex (198448) | about 12 years ago | (#5089312)


Content is Crap? (2, Funny)

WPIDalamar (122110) | about 12 years ago | (#5089315)

Eeek, I thought the quote was "Content is King", not "Content is Crap" ...

Then again...
N' Sync

maybe that's right.

Interesting meaphore.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089316)

I see the point about how companies filter things and add value.

The million dollar question would then be using his medaphore. When the stuff coming out of the filter tastes like shit, shouldn't someone replace it?

My main complaint with the ideas is this. The music industry does not filter out the 'bad' music it only filter out the different stuff. The only thing the systems as it stands today gaurentees is homogeny. I'd prefer to sift through all the 'bad' music if I could cling to the hope that there might be more 'good' stuff out there as well.

Re:Interesting meaphore.... (3, Insightful)

goon america (536413) | about 12 years ago | (#5089454)

I think the article is right in this sense: record companies filter out the bad and present what is good.

Here's the problem: "good" is defined as what's good for dumb 11-14 year old girls. I'm completely serious. Who do you think buys the most music?

The music industry filters and adds value only for the largest and most appealing market segments (teenagers, especially young girls) and fucks everyone else. Everyone else still has to deal with the high prices and homogeney that sucker teenagers are willing to pay for music that serves a different purpose for them (emotionally). In economics terms, sucker teenagers and everyone else have totally different demand functions, but the sucker teenagers are so much more profitable that everyone else gets ignored by the industry.

Hmmm. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089322)

Check out the chick with big knockers [pajonet.com] .

For real!

What about filtering by the public, like slashdot? (1)

comicus (641122) | about 12 years ago | (#5089326)

Creative Commons could implement a system similar to slashdot's moderation system, where users rate the content. If content is rated junk enough times, it's removed. Same can apply to the "artist".


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089710)

You mean, like Slashdot's broken moderation system, where anonymous mod abuse promotes mindless groupthinking?

He's not really right either (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | about 12 years ago | (#5089333)

(My favorite part of Tech Central Station is the author pictures. They're like those tech books, WROX, I think, with the author photos on the cover that look _exactly_ like you'd expect the authors of "SOAP, COM and ASP with XML and XSLT" to look. The TCS authors look exactly like the nerdy, 30-40-something fire-breathing libertarians I'd imagine them as. Of course, their work and tax money make it possible for people with better haircuts to tell us what to do, so I feel guilty making fun of them.)

Anyhow, while I think he's right to object to the notion that publishers are simply vampires extorting money from noble artists, it's extremely incomplete to say that they're valuable primarily as filters. They do add value that way, but that's the role that's the easiest for the public to fill.

The more important things they do are developing and polishing musicians, editing books, creating the financial and organizational infrastructure to make major movies. His plan does nothing to address that.

value (3, Interesting)

simpl3x (238301) | about 12 years ago | (#5089593)

the publisher take such a huge portion of the final value, that one has to beg the question, why? of course warner brothers creates value, but in my opinion, drag city creates more value, because they show me things that warner brothers never will. why? because they are operating on a mass produced, scarcity driven idealogy. we do want filters, we just don't want smart-ass filters that take over the primary asset and make extraordinary demands. there are new filters being born. and they will change the market in unanticipated ways. copy right is simply being used by the old manufacturers and distributors to retain their market. this is wrong! but, as another poster has commented, the work supplied by the "arstist" is rarely the finished work! thoughts?

filtering out the drivel (2)

InnovATIONS (588225) | about 12 years ago | (#5089339)

It is indeed unique to see admidst all the bashing of RIAA and MPAA to see somebody actually admit that publishers have a value add.

Now maybe they need to find a business model for how to provide that content that doesn't rely on the media itself, but there are a lot of firms having trouble finding a viable business model in this age (such as the previous story on Mandrake

The author's notion that what is really needed is a better search engine is, however naieve. Sure you might find something that is going to be able to filter through just jokes and stories on the mideast, but is it going to really be able, in the reasonable future, to be ablt to find you just the funny jokes or and unbiased stories about the mideast with new information?

Actually being able to filter out the crap would be very valuable for blogs as well.

Irony (5, Insightful)

s1r_m1xalot (218277) | about 12 years ago | (#5089342)

Does anyone else think it's ironic that Kling insists that content is alike to raw sewage in a blog?

And if your average professionally produced content is sewage, than whomever is hosting Jenny Teenager's blog has the cyber equivilant of Yucca Mountain

Not only irony -- missing the point! (2, Informative)

linefeed0 (550967) | about 12 years ago | (#5089590)

Yes, it is ironic, and like many other bloggers -- including but by no means limited to the right-wing blog echo chamber -- his argument fails to hold any water because he's confusing two completely different concepts.

First, he assumes that Creative Commons is about cutting out the publishers. In some cases, it's about online distribution -- and the popularity of meta-blogs and sites like slashdot proves that there is both demand *and* supply for some editing, indexing, and review of online information. In addition, Lessig has support for some of his projects from people whose works are formally published, including O'Reilly using his 14-year "founder's copyright".

But even a cursory review of his site shows the real purpose is to empower people (whether it's foolish or not, it is giving people a choice) with licenses that are carefully legally reviewed, by a lawyer (very hard for an individual to get), to have something other than full, all-rights-reserved copyright on their works. Sort of like the GPL, really, and it's hard to argue that hasn't been a success for at least some projects.

From his site [creativecommons.org] : "...creative works are now automatically copyrighted. We believe that many people would not choose this "copyright by default" if they had an easy mechanism for turning their work over to the public or exercising some but not all of their legal rights. It is Creative Commons' goal to help create such a mechanism."

What 60's ideology? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089347)

He compares artists' works to, well, raw sewage that publishers filter into something that can be later consumed by the public. 'What Creative Commons lets you do as an author is label your stuff before you flush it down the toilet.'
That sounds about right. Have you seen American Idol? There are people out there with *seriously* distorted views of how good they are. Thank God for that Simon guy, he cracks me up and he's *right*.

Nice Strawman (5, Insightful)

Nurlman (448649) | about 12 years ago | (#5089350)

From Kling's piece:

The Commons enthusiasts believe that content publishers earn their profits by using copyright law to steal content from its creators and charge extortionary prices to consumers.

This is the central premise that underlies the rest of his article, and without it, his rant makes no sense. However, beyond stating the premise, he offers nothing to support the argument that the purpose of Creative Commons is to purposefully hamstring publishers.

From my understanding of CC, quite the opposite is the case. If a publisher is interested in distributing your work, you're going to enter into negotiations and ultimately issue a license to that publisher on the terms you agree on. The CC license has no bearing on this transaction.

The CC license is more about protecting the authors whose work doesn't attract the interest of traditional publishers (because the work is not polished, not economically viable, whatever), but which contains material that someone else desires to use or re-publish. Through the CC license, the author can set the terms upon which the work may be used without having to personally negotiate those terms with anyone and everyone who would like to use it.

Kling's premise is a strawman-- people don't use the CC license to do an end-run around publishers; they use it because publishers aren't interested (or because the author is not interested in dealing with a publisher).

Re:Nice Strawman (4, Insightful)

blamanj (253811) | about 12 years ago | (#5089461)

his rant makes no sense

Bingo. Your description of the CC license is far more coherent. Kling is completely confused, and the idea that you could train a Baysian filter to select good content from bad is laughable.

Of course publishers serve a purpose. But the publishing world, just to give one example, is littered with books that were refused by 20 publishers before they were eventually picked up.

He's correct in that CC does no content filtering, but that's not the point of CC, as you succintly note.

Re:Nice Strawman (3, Insightful)

urbazewski (554143) | about 12 years ago | (#5089705)

his rant makes no sense

Exactly. He seems incapable of, or unwilling to, separate out what the CC license actually is from the dire consequences he invents to maximize the outrage caused by his troll.

A similar argument can be made against literacy itself: if you give people the means to read and write, they will just produce a huge stream of crap. Instead, why not have large organizations decide what's worth writing and what's worth reading?

If Kling is right that publishers are essential, then CC is no threat --- people will be willing to pay for filtering or editing or marketing and publishers will do just fine. It's ironic that supporters of "free markets" (judging from the tagline on the website) feel so threatened by an initiative to expand the choice set of both content producers and content. consumers.

annmariabell.com [annmariabell.com]

Let me make sure I understand this. (5, Funny)

revision1_1 (69575) | about 12 years ago | (#5089356)

One guy is dumping on some other user-content thingie, run by some other guys who've responded in their blogs, and the first guy has answered back...in his own blog. And the whole thing is framed in a sewage-sort-of-metaphor.

Two words: Circle. Jerk.

Meta-blog (2, Interesting)

MrWa (144753) | about 12 years ago | (#5089357)

So is Slashdot becoming a meta-blog?

Well, having just published a book... (4, Interesting)

Hayzeus (596826) | about 12 years ago | (#5089366)

I think the role of the publisher (at least in the case of tech books) has been overstated. We were published by a major house (McGraw-Hill), and their role has been limited essentially to cover artwork and marketing. Not to knock the importance of marketing, but there it is.

On the other hand, we were entirely responsible for all artwork, text, and any major editing.

An outside compositor was hired (at MH's expense) to do layout and a bit of editing, although this was done working closely with us, and was primarily related to missing figures, a bit of proofreading, etc. The bottom line is that had we been willing to do the work of the compositor, which was basically formatting, we wouldn't have needed the publisher at all to produce the final content. Even the actual printing is contracted out.

In our case, it is the publishers primary job to market the book, not to tweak the content.

Re:Well, having just published a book... (4, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | about 12 years ago | (#5089423)

Well, marketing and branding both have their value. Heck, even the choice of publisher, by itself, can mean something to a consumer. A book from O'Reilly or McGraw Hill or Springer-Verlag, for instance, probably has a higher probability of interest to a technical bloke than from whoever publishes the _Harlequin Romance_ tripe. That's some filtering right there.

Re:Well, having just published a book... (1)

Hayzeus (596826) | about 12 years ago | (#5089486)

I should make it clear that I'm not knocking my publisher -- you're correct -- branding and marketing are major determiners of sales volume, and a publisher acts as a kind of content filter.

My point is merely that in my (limited) experience, publishers don't have much impact on content itself; they don't turn sewerage into gold. They are in essence marketing companies.

it's a good thing we have quality "filters" ... (3, Funny)

timothy (36799) | about 12 years ago | (#5089374)

Like the FOX Network.


Re:it's a good thing we have quality "filters" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089481)

I feel sorry for FOX. Yeah, they do have some crap shows, but they that's because they're willing to take more risks. Who else would have taken the chance to have shows like X-Files, Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.?

Re:it's a good thing we have quality "filters" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089681)

I just think it's funny that Fox is always the one getting bashed, when the other three are more biased and crappier than it.

FOX was a cheap shot, I know ;) (1)

timothy (36799) | about 12 years ago | (#5089707)

Especially since they have had the Simpsons and Futurama, two of the only shows I often enjoy :)

However, I was thinking things more of the When Cops Attack, World's Scariest Whatevers, etc.

But the idea that no one would be able to tell shit from Shinola in the absence of Giant Media Conglomerates as currently constituted, struck me as pretty silly :)


RMS? (0, Troll)

Palshife (60519) | about 12 years ago | (#5089393)

Shouldn't that be "GNU Sewage"? Don't worry, common mistake.

Haha ha (2, Insightful)

BlackHat (67036) | about 12 years ago | (#5089404)


These filters are why most if not near all of editorial cartoonists are white male 25-55. These "filters" are why many of the people here are here and not reading Main-stream-content.

The whole bunch of these fools think that there is some Content-Value in the control of the media. Some how the exclusion of some parts is enhancing the parts they let you see. That their view of what is good and bad is Added-Value. I am not so sure they do add anything. Nor do I think that never allowing the bad-stuff to be seen will do anything but obscure the contrast.

Imagine sports where we only get to watch only the winner play alone.

Re:Haha ha (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 12 years ago | (#5089512)

These filters are why most if not near all of editorial cartoonists are white male 25-55.

They aren't. You see editorial cartoonists in most international papers. So probably most editorial cartoonists are Asian males. What you probably meant is that most editorial cartoonists for US mainstream papers... in which case they probably reflect who applies for the job.

These "filters" are why many of the people here are here and not reading Main-stream-content.

Absolutely; the people here want a different filter. The same way classical radio stations filter differently than pop radio stations who filter differently than comedy stations.

Nor do I think that never allowing the bad-stuff to be seen will do anything but obscure the contrast. Imagine sports where we only get to watch only the winner play alone.

Pretty much that is another set of filters. The best high school players play for college they get filtered again to be on good teams and get filtered again to make the pros and get filtered again for field time. The result is that the sports people watch involve only "the winners".

In sports the filtering is much more drastic than in books or music.

its not that all content is crap its publishers... (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | about 12 years ago | (#5089407)

Its not that all content is crap; its that most publishers are crap!

Its for this reason that more people choose to get theri content from the web, p2p , and etc rather than NewYork Times WashingtoPost, RIAA, MPAA, and etc..

Its sad that he misses this point...

Umm... I beg to differ.... (1)

Reeses (5069) | about 12 years ago | (#5089408)

The commons is actually a concept that's been around since the middle ages.

A significant part of The Enlightenment was based on it, and consequently, our Constitution and our copyright law, and many other things. It's not some new new idea that was cooked up in the 60's.

It's a shame he didn't do more research.

He's right, but... (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 12 years ago | (#5089449)

> He compares artists' works to, well, raw sewage that publishers filter into something that can be later consumed by the public.

Yeah, but when the publisher in question is the RIAA they filter out all the good stuff and pass all the lip-sync dance-sync boy-band crap on to the consumer.

Sturgeon's Law and Garbage (2, Interesting)

redbeard_ak (542964) | about 12 years ago | (#5089468)

I'd agree with Kline on one hand that Sturgeon's Law is being enforced - 90 percent of everything is crap. [suite101.com]

However, the notion that publishers are filtering with my best interests in mind is also part of that 90 percent.Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [fair.org]

And beyond that even, I'd have to say that one man's treasure is another man's garbage. [slashdot.org]

what a lame site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089470)

Server Error

This server has encountered an internal error which prevents it from fulfilling your request. The most likely cause is a misconfiguration. Please ask the administrator to look for messages in the server's error log.

If you are using Opera 6.0 (or later) for your browser, the error may be related to your browser's configuration. Click here for a description of an Opera browser configuration parameter that may correct the misconfiguration.

how does this differ from GNU? (2)

beanerspace (443710) | about 12 years ago | (#5089476)

Not being a legal beagle type, how is Creative Commons any different than the GNU license? I realize the former is for posts/articles and other blogish content, and the later for software, but aren't they essentially the same thing. Or am I missing something big (and legal) here?

Restatement of article (3, Insightful)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | about 12 years ago | (#5089499)

  1. It's likely that a given piece of Creative Commons content is going to be crap because 90% of everything is crap (this is known as Sturgeon's Law, BTW).
  2. Content intermediaries produce mediocre results, but it's still better than crap.
  3. Maybe the answer is not to guarantee that there is free crap available, but to offer a way to filter out the crap, without having to pay a middleman.
Makes more sense now?

Why Creative Commons is a Good Thing(TM) (5, Insightful)

Omega (1602) | about 12 years ago | (#5089534)

Perhaps Mr. Kling hasn't ready anything on the Creative Commons project. I think one of the best features the Creative Commons offers is simplifications of user agreements.

Essentially all the parts of a user agreement are reduced to a set of easily recognizable icons/keywords (from a set of 10) which detail what copyrights and licenses and granted and reserved under the agreement. So when you visit a website or buy a software package, instead of reading 30 pages of EULA's (which no one does anyway) and clicking "I Agree," you will see a set of Icons/Keywords which abbreviate the agreement so you can Agree/Decline. The legal elements represented by the agreement icons/keywords are universal -- so the icons ($), (=), etc means the same thing for every user agreement regardless of content provider. Providers can customize their agreements by choosing a set of icons which best represents what licenses they want to reserve and which ones they want to grant. Users benefit because they only need to read the text of the 10 possible licenses for a possible infinite number of service/content providers.

The argument, "Sure I clicked agree, but I didn't read it," is becoming more and more compelling to courts and shrink wrap licenses are becoming endangered of being ruled invalid because they are not easily accessible. By following the creative commons model, providers can be protected because they follow a universal license model that can be easily recognized and understood by users. Likewise, users can know everything they are agreeing to because the provider can't sneak spying provisions into the CC licenses and still represent the license with the CC icons.

Btw, I love it when some sniveling, little Reagan-ite calls constitutionally guaranteed freedom and liberty "60's era" or "naive." What they're really saying is "Sure, liberty sounds good...But facism and elitism just make more sense in modern society."

Now that's a curve ball (1)

toothless joe (555389) | about 12 years ago | (#5089557)

Wow. Weblogs being used to reduce the amount of drivel on the internet? This is a brave new world, indeed.

is today 'dump on lessig' day at slashdot? (1, Offtopic)

smd4985 (203677) | about 12 years ago | (#5089578)

first you report his failure in the supreme court. then you question his big project, something he has been working on for a few years.

cut the guy a break :) .

why does anyone care about this guy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089620)

honestly... looking over his blog it's clear that all he does is criticize shit. "someone wrote a manifesto, but i don't like manifestos" or "i always thought netscape was shit" or "aol is meaningless." this guy brings out the worst parts of the term critic... a critic is not someone who calls anything and everything he can name crap. a critic is someone who looks critically at something and gives an honest, educated opinion. looking over the things he's chosen to tackle in his weblog, it's clear to me that he's got nothing to offer.

Why so bitter? (4, Informative)

madgeorge (632496) | about 12 years ago | (#5089631)

Did CC piss on Kling's lawn, or what? Why so bitter? I can understand the argument defending the role of publishers to some extent, but in reality too much is "filtered". If we left it up to the big, commercial publishers Einstein would never have amounted to anything. More Danielle Steele, please!

That being said, I'm still trying to figure out why defending publishers requires attacking a project like Creative Commons. Yeah, the 5 million personal sites proclaiming "Hey, my name is Dorky McDork I like Satr Wars email me if you liek movies, two! LOL)LL" do kinda suck. But the need for search and filtering tools again is no reason to trash a project like CC [creativecommons.org] that is "designed to help expand the amount of intellectual work, whether owned or free, available for creative re-use." How is this a bad thing?

But I preach to the choir. I need to copy this into an email to Kling.


this guy is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#5089664)

find out more youdontknowwhoiam.org [youdontknowwhoiam.org]

Article is Crap (2)

Tom7 (102298) | about 12 years ago | (#5089668)

Well, his article is crap, too, so that's why I didn't read it. ;)

It may be true for writing, but it's definitely not true for music: for several years I've been having a great time downloading self-published music from mp3.com. Believe me, there's no sewage filter here, but that doesn't mean I'm not able to find stuff that I like fairly easily. It's great that these are real people, doing it for the love of it, and that you can have discussions and collaborations with them. Really refreshing. (It also feels a lot better than buying from the RIAA!) Of course, making my own [tom7.org] music is a good way to have music that I like, and that some other people might by chance like, too. Seriously, if it meant the end of commercial radio and professional "artists," hell, sign me up.

This whole thing reminds me eerily of the academic publishing industry's claim that we as researchers need them in order to survive. (So sign over those copyrights!) Of course, with the internet we no longer need journals and conference proceedings to get access to papers, and with the recent academic scandals involving forged results, it's not clear that the peer review system is working particularly well, either.

You know what? (2)

Mac Degger (576336) | about 12 years ago | (#5089718)

He's mostly right...mosty of what comes out is crap. It just stands to reason (and empirical evidence :) ).

But what he's missing is that some of it is good, or even great. And even what's crap can spark something great in someones brain.
Sounds something like the current media, doesn't it? And it's free, and open to derivative work which can supercede the original in quality, to boot.
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