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Fark Creator Slams 'the Wisdom of Crowds'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the respond-below-with-wit-and-vigor dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 507

GovTechGuy writes with some harsh words from Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, speaking at a conference Tuesday in Washington, DC: "'The "wisdom of the crowds" is the most ridiculous statement I've heard in my life. Crowds are dumb,' Curtis said. 'It takes people to move crowds in the right direction, crowds by themselves just stand around and mutter.' Curtis pointed to his own experience moderating comments on Fark, which allows users to give their often humorous take on the news of the day. He said only one percent of Web comments have any value and called the rest 'garbage.' Another example Curtis pointed to is the America Speaking Out website recently launched by House Republicans to allow the public to weigh in on the issues and vote for policy positions they support. Curtis called the site an 'absolute train wreck.' 'It's an absolute disaster. It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't,' Curtis said."

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507 comments

Wisdom of the crowd. (2, Interesting)

tacarat (696339) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750420)

Wow. I hear a best selling demotivator poster in the works.

Re:Wisdom of the crowd. (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750476)

I believe a soon to be classic movie explained it best.

Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.

Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.

Re:Wisdom of the crowd. (3, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750988)

This same "theory" has been made countless times before, and it's BS. It's just "funny 'cuz it's 'kinda' true" (before you really think about it).
The truth is that one-on-one, if you explained a comparatively difficult concept to an individual, you have a higher chance of getting the idea across, because you're giving that person your attention and answering any specific questions they might have. If you did the same thing to a room full of people (sound familiar?), and just stopped talking after you *thought* you'd given them enough information, many of the listeners will sit there scratching their heads and think "well, I don't get it now, but I'm not going to be the idiot who raises his hand and asks questions... It'd be better if I just asked one of the smart guys. After class.".

There are enough "smart" people out there who could relay the information to the "dumb" people if they did so with small groups, who could ask questions back. This is why it takes a few days for an idea to "sink in" after a public announcement has been made -- the people who didn't get it are looking for ways to properly understand whatever it was they were told. This reason alone, means that they are not "dumb", it may just take them a bit longer to ingest a new idea.

If you take 100 people, throw them in a room, tell them something that goes against everything they know and then yelled: "Tell me what you think of that! Now!", then sure, you won't get very encouraging result. But that's just because you used the wrong method to convey the information. They're not dumb for not getting it. But you may be, since you chose this method to get your idea across.

How come H1N1 vaccine uptake was so low? (-1, Offtopic)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750426)

Discount this, buddy. vaccine and prescription uptake stats are down and falling.

Fark.com (5, Insightful)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750436)

I have never frequented fark.com, only clicking through on occasion the last X? number of years it's been running, but TFS makes me appreciate the founder's own wisdom....

Re:Fark.com (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750924)

Strangely enough, Fark links to genuine news that should be more prominent than it actually is.

Weird news is still news.

Re:Fark.com (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750934)

It's a good site, I don't read it that much due to what he's talking about.

Sometimes you're not sure if the troll is a troll, or just a misguided conservative. It does get disheartening. Some of it's good comedy value though, which makes up for the inane or completely false comments left. In some ways you cut to the rawest part of society when you get people to comment on one line summaries.

It cuts both ways (4, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750442)

He said only one percent of Web comments have any value and called the rest 'garbage.'

Funny, that also seems to be the case with most articles. Garbage in, garbage out.

Re:It cuts both ways (4, Funny)

Joe U (443617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750454)

Funny, that also seems to be the case with most articles. Garbage in, garbage out.

It's not news, it's Fark.com.

Re:It cuts both ways (1)

PK Tech Guy (1310715) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750570)

Funny, that also seems to be the case with most articles.

CdrTaco and Samzenpus. No further explanation needed.

Re:It cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750844)

WGARBHGHLARRRGHHH!!!!

Charles Mackay (5, Informative)

rlp (11898) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750458)

Read "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay (first published in 1841). His book discusses Tulip-mania in the Netherlands and witch persecutions (and many more incidents) to illustrate the distinct LACK of wisdom of crowds.

Re:Charles Mackay (5, Informative)

john83 (923470) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750630)

Interestingly, there are four copies on Google books, and every one of them has pages omitted as they're from recent editions. What the hell, Google? Thankfully, Project Gutenberg has a few versions, e.g. this one [gutenberg.org].

Re:Charles Mackay (1)

Kyont (145761) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750672)

Mod parent up! Best coverage of this subject material ever, if a bit baffling at times to wade through the antiquated sentence structure.

My favorite was the guy who created a stock venture during one of the financial bubbles with a title something like, "An Undertaking Of Great Advantage, But Nobody To Know What It Is". Thousands of pounds invested, then the owner wisely took off and was never identified.

Re:Charles Mackay (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750840)

Kevin Rose used to use the "wisdom of crowds" phrase constantly when promoting Digg. I think that's enough evidence right there...

Irony (5, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32751000)

How About "The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nation" [wikipedia.org] It is a nice counter to Charles Mackay. It's funny how people like to say crowds are morons and then try to prove it Scientifically like Francis Galton did with his Ox Experiment [wikipedia.org]. If a crowd is so stupid why is the Mean of Francis' experiment within 1 pound of the weight of the Ox? From what Fark is ranting about he seems more irked about his crowd not self organizing when he wants it to. Wikipedia and Youtube self organize not just because of leadership but because the crowd wants to organize. If you have a meaningless concept that doesn't have the interest of the crowd then it wont self organize. And just because a group of people can be tricked like in the many witch burnings doesn't mean they have more or less wisdom then the individual since I've seen individuals go far more mad than that.

kettle, meet pot (1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750480)

This, from a guy that used to post boobies and weenies links? Dude, you haven't got enough IQ points to fill a mayonnaise jar. Seriously -- there are people with letters after their names that back this stuff. What do you have? "A popular website marketed to Joe Average." Woooow... some cred there, man.

Re:kettle, meet pot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750634)

Seriously -- there are people with letters after their names that back this stuff.

Pfffft! They're not even smart enough to know that they're supposed to put the letters in their names...

Re:kettle, meet pot (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750656)

Posting boobies and weenies links does not ipso facto mean a person is stupid.

You should also cite some of these "people with letters after their names". I can cite one Bryan Caplan, Ph.D. In his book The Myth of the Rational Voter, he argues that, even if a crowd is 99% stupid (he uses the term ignorant), it can make wise decisions. How? Because those 99% of idiots choose rather randomly, canceling each other out, and the remaining 1% choose "properly".

This is assailable, of course, but it's rather myopic of you to pretend that your view is unquestionably correct. Rather than attacking the person (Curtis, in this case), attack the idea.

Re:kettle, meet pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750872)

How? Because those 99% of idiots choose rather randomly, canceling each other out, and the remaining 1% choose "properly".

I never thought of it that way... I must use this outlook when considering public opinions on public forums.

Re:kettle, meet pot (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750678)

>What do you have? "A popular website marketed to Joe Average."

Compare fark to, say, metafilter or even reddit. Your comment quality rises quite a bit when the site's purpose isn't junk like GOP cheerleading (fark during the Bush years) and celebrity news (fark today). Fark attracts the lowest common denominator and it doesn't even bother with any real sort of moderation system. It just dumps all the comments linearly, with no community karma or threaded conversations.

That said, the wisdom of crowds is more than a little overplayed by web-savvy types, but that doesn't mean the crowdsourcing wisdom can't work, its just the current implementations are pretty poor.

Re:kettle, meet pot (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750932)

"Comment Quality" is related to the purpose of the website. I was under the impression that Fark's goal was humor. So I would say that Fark's "Comment Quality" is better than that of metafilter or reddit when it comes to funny posts. It's certainly better than Slashdot.

Re:kettle, meet pot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750718)

girlintraining (1395911) you seem like a real douchebag. Drew Curtis from Fark has made enough money off of posting "boobies and weenies links" to live comfortably for the rest of his life. What have you done?

One man's "garbage"... (2, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750484)

Keep in mind that Drew is running Fark as a business, and certain comments that might rail against his corporate superiors will get modded or banned. Drew and his modmins are know to ban people based on petty rivalries and personality conflicts. Fark is no bastion of "free speech", and what would he know about "wisdom" from a site that is dedicated to goofball headlines and accelerated political trolling.

Re:One man's "garbage"... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750830)

Wow dude, way to try and down fark while pushing your own weak ass bullshit site in your sig.

Eat a dick.

Re:One man's "garbage"... (2, Interesting)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750886)

Wow dude, way to try and down fark while pushing your own weak ass bullshit site in your sig.

So what (it's not "my" site anyways)? Challenge: Post this url [bannination.com] in any Fark thread.

Re:One man's "garbage"... (1, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750832)

Personal attacks on him or his website does not refute the "wisdom" of his words. Your post is in no way "Insightful"

Re:One man's "garbage"... (2, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750952)

Personal attacks on him or his website does not refute the "wisdom" of his words.

What "wisdom"? Drew is after page hits and maintaining an advertiser-friendly site, not wisdom.

Re:One man's "garbage"... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750964)

IT shows his words are to be questioned, and that he is speaking with hypocrisy.

Pointing that out is, in fact, insightful.

Re:One man's "garbage"... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750916)

What the FUCK are you talking about?

You should check my comment history on Fark. I'm dead surprised I haven't been banned, especially after repeatedly telling users how to exploit Fark's refusal to host their own ads, posting random images of porn, saying Drew was sucking my cock, etc.

I'm still commenting daily on stories.

Missing the point (5, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750490)

Come on. "America Speaking Out" is not about getting wisdom from people, any more than the White House's solicitation of ideas for the oil spill was. It's about allowing people to feel like they have a voice. Don't spoil the illusion!

As to the "wisdom of crowds" in general, it depends entirely on the context. We know for a fact that when crowds have significant enough motivation (like money), they do an excellent job of predicting things, for example. But if your motivation is to have people point at your comment and emote somehow (laugh, get angry, friend you, whatever), then obviously, truth and wisdom are not your goals, so you don't often find truth and wisdom there.

Re:Missing the point (1, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750720)

Come on. "America Speaking Out" is not about getting wisdom from people, any more than the White House's solicitation of ideas for the oil spill was. It's about allowing people to feel like they have a voice.

As, these days, are elections.

With a few well-placed Supreme Court decisions recently, America has been turned from a democracy to a plutocracy. But, like the Church, the true rulers will hide behind the trappings of a cult (religion, patriotism, entertainment, opportunity; pick one or more) the true purpose of their decisions, and will allow the "government" to appear to be in charge.

But they aren't, and you aren't really choosing them. Not any more.

Re:Missing the point (3, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750948)

It's hardly recent. Look at the early days of our nation and you'll find systemic corruption on even broader scales. Things are bad, sure, but they were even worse(!).

Re:Missing the point (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750724)

Come on. "America Speaking Out" is not about getting wisdom from people, any more than the White House's solicitation of ideas for the oil spill was. It's about allowing people to feel like they have a voice. Don't spoil the illusion!

I'd take that a half step further: it's also about the illusion that that voice matters, and that when the entity soliciting feedback takes actions in some way in line with that voice, that it's because the entity is obedient to the will of the masses.

Really, this kind of phenomena is not new or unique to the Internet -- for example, my congressman recently (snail) mailed out a survey to his constitutents, in theory to solicit their opinions. It consisted solely of multiple choice questions that weren't even really questions (or simplified complex issues to the point of stupidity), along the lines of "Do you think that A) we should make government smaller and eliminate regulations or B) we should give government all of our money and let it control every aspect of our lives?" Great, you spent a bunch of taxpayer money creating, distributing, and collecting a survey so that you could assert that your constitutents want you to spend less money.

Re:Missing the point (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750802)

We know for a fact that when crowds have significant enough motivation (like money), they do an excellent job of predicting things, for example.

Actually, no. We need more research in this area. What we do know is that groups judge better than individuals. Large groups, if there is some selection involves, appear to share that. Don't forget that almost all of the prediction markets used so far have a strong self-selection involved.

If you want to study large-scale crowd predictions, take horse racing or other sports bets.

What crowds are excellent at is predicting the obvious and filtering out the personal bias we all have - you one way, I the other, in a crowd that cancels out and we all together arrive at a pretty good mean estimate. But as soon as the judgement requires any expert knowledge whatsoever, you have strong selection at work (most people don't "bet" on things they don't understand), which kind of violates your core assumption of having a crowd, not just a group of experts.

It's about time to tell the truth! (1)

climenole (1445167) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750498)

Crowd are dumbs: right! It's exactly what Gustave LeBon said about crowd and it's still true. Just watch the suckers all around the web (e.g. Twitter...). :))))

It's about Cherry Picking. (3, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750506)

Slashdot is not so different, there are some pretty useless comment here. Hell, I make a lot of them on occasion myself.

But if you read between the lines and "cherry pick", there are usually hidden gems about a software package, a piece of advice or something truly fascinating.

The noise to signal ratio is what matters, and on Slashdot it is better some days than others but in general it's a lot better than a lot of other sites. Some sites like YouTube or even to some extent Digg have almost no added value in their comments and the "noise" is pretty high.

It's not just about the freshest content (which is why I think a lot of people frequent Digg or Hacker News), the comments are what makes a user-generated-content site work... at least for me.

That's why I keep coming back here.

Re:It's about Cherry Picking. (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750618)

That's why I keep coming back here.

You mean its not for the endless jokes about living in the basement, not having a girlfriend, no social life, or the strong usage of the soviet russia meme?

Re:It's about Cherry Picking. (2, Insightful)

vehn23 (684035) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750726)

I keep coming back here because I keep my comment threshhold at +5, +10 at reddit(and would be higher if they let me), and almost never read the comment threads at Fark unless I want to pgdn through it quickly to find pictures of hot russian spies or whatever without clicking through links. Basically I try to keep my entertainment and laziness quotients as high as possible.

Re:It's about Cherry Picking. (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750958)

If you have ever read the comments sections of the yahoo news posts you will realize that half of all people are dumber than average, and they all have a yahoo account.

I feel "more stupider" after reading those comments for 5 minutes than I did after having my finger sewn back on after a tragic sandwich making accident.

I find slashdot to be remarkably good in the value of the content. 1% of comments ere may be all that have "value", but they tend to float to the top.

Along the way I find some frivolous humor and conversation that may not be valuable, but I enjoy none the less.

Re:It's about Cherry Picking. (1)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 3 years ago | (#32751018)

If aliens were to observe us and read nothing but YouTube comments, they'd probably assume humans are non-sentient.

Re:It's about Cherry Picking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32751002)

The noise to signal ratio is what matters, and on Slashdot it is better some days than others but in general it's a lot better than a lot of other sites.

While that may be true, the S/N ratio on Slashdot still mostly sucks. The signal that does rise above the noise is typically uneducated drivel or easy (but wrong) first-order analysis.

I keep coming back here for the one comment every 6-8 weeks or so that contains an intelligent, well-thought-out solution to a hard problem, or points me to something that I haven't seen or heard of before and motivates me to educate myself.

When I want a high S/N ratio, I still read plain old magazines. Nat Geo, SciAm, ...

There are always standouts in crowds (4, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750516)

I run a site that targets the same demographic as Curtis and while I concur that the vast majority of posts provide little value, there are a subset that are well reasoned and very helpful.

Any crowd is going to eventually devolve into a set of leaders and a set of followers and I think the problem that we see online is that the leaders are often not the most informed, but the most controversial.

However, i'm not sure that's much different from anywhere in the real world

Signal-Noise ratio of crowds ain't too high ... (2, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750522)

Perhaps less that "wisdom of the crowds" are dumb, but more that the vocal minority tend to drown out the quieter majority ... and the percentage of nutcases is much higher in the former group.

On the stupidity of crowds. (5, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750524)

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/plus2sd/200809/the-stupidity-crowds [psychologytoday.com]

"What can you do? I gained some insight into this problem several years ago when my research group performed an fMRI study of social conformity. We recreated a version of the famous Asch experiment of the 1950s and used fMRI to determine how a group changes an individual's perception of the world. Two things emerged from the study. First, when individuals conform to a group's opinion, even when the group is wrong, we observe changes in perceptual circuits in the brain, suggesting that groups change the way we see the world. Second, when an individual stands up against the group, we observed strong activation in the amygdala, a structure closely associated with fear. All this tells me that not only are our brains not wired for truly independent thought, but it takes a huge amount of effort to overcome the fear of standing up for one's own beliefs and speaking out".

Re:On the stupidity of crowds. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750760)

I think we should make a law mandating that people wear fMRI hats when out in public.

Re:On the stupidity of crowds. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750776)

Interesting. The thing is that people like to believe that crowds are smart.
A good example for me was in a class I took in college.
It was the classic you are on the far side moon and put this list in order from the most important to the least.
The point of the exercise was to show that one person could make choices faster but as a group you made better choices.

Well when we put our scores together I scored higher than my group did.
They really had a hard time understanding that a compass wouldn't work on the moon or that the radio would be limited to line of sight. The decided they knew better than I did.
The professor was really kind of upset with that result because it sort of messed up her point since I had gotten the best answers correctly and quickly on my own.
The professor asked me why I thought that was. The only thing I could come up with was that once you have an optimal solution bringing more people in only increases the chances that you will end up with a sub optimal solution.

Re:On the stupidity of crowds. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750998)

Or more likely you are just a pompous jackass who thinks a whole lot more of himself than he should.

America Speaking Out... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750536)

America Speaking Out is not, arguably, the best example.

Only the nuttiest of cyber-utopians would suggest that the "wisdom of crowds" holds up particularly well when part of the crowd is engaged in deliberate sabotage. Worse; because of the, er... exceptional quality of political discourse in America, you ran into the "Poe's Law" problem.

If your mods are remotely on the ball, or your wiki editors are up to snuff, or whatever, it is pretty trivial to resist obvious and unsubtle attacks. Worthless posts get modded down, somebody spends 20 minutes sprinkling obscenities into a wiki article and somebody else spends 20 seconds reverting it, those sorts of attacks are survivable enough. If, though, a fair part of your "crowd" is utterly batshit crazy, you run into a real problem: your most committed users will produce output almost exactly like your most vicious, cynical parodists(the same thing happened to Conservapedia. Because the true believers and the mocking liberal cynics were indistinguishable, the site got bogged down in a series of purges based almost entirely on personality and loyalty to Dear Leader, rather than actual helpfulness to the "crowd"; because it simply wasn't possible to tell the "crowd" and any but its stupidest enemies apart).

Similarly, with America Speaking Out, the problem isn't going to be with trivial vandalism, which is annoying but quick to clean up, the problem will be that it is impossible to distinguish between people ranting about how Barrack Hussein is a communist fascist muslim sleeper agent because they believe that, and the ones doing exactly the same thing because it amuses them to associate such views with the RNC. Conversation is doomed when signal and noise can be distinguished only by intent.

Re:America Speaking Out... (2, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750650)

I'm stunned by the effort that people will take to subvert stuff - from the admin side i've seen a couple of users maintain totally distinct persona that I don't think any of my actual users would connect together. The difficulty in battling against noise is that the side with more time will win, and for most small internet sites that's not going to be the server admin. I'm pretty much convinced that the only real way to deal with trouble makers is to just ignore them and hope that the signal drowns out the noise.

I know drew went through various battles to sanitize his site a few years ago, and while i don't harbor any personal resentment towards him, it quickly became apparent that it wasn't the place for me. My main issue with fark is that the signal was attenuated more-so than the noise.

Re:America Speaking Out... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750818)

somebody spends 20 minutes sprinkling obscenities into a wiki article and somebody else spends 20 seconds reverting it, those sorts of attacks are survivable enough.

As long as your "idiot-to-someone-who-cares" ratio is 60:1 or better. And maintaining a good ratio is a hard struggle, because almost always the people who care give up long before the idiots and assholes do. Yes, that explains a lot about politics, but that wasn't the point.

Re:America Speaking Out... (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750842)

Conversation is doomed when signal and noise can be distinguished only by intent.

Which, as you've cleverly pointed out, is actually quite useful at times. If nothing truthful is being reported, what better than a whole bunch more untruths to make it a bit more colorful?

Re:America Speaking Out... (2, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750986)

Only the nuttiest of cyber-utopians would suggest that the "wisdom of crowds" holds up particularly well when part of the crowd is engaged in deliberate sabotage.

Yes. To paraphrase Tolkien, "It does not do to leave a live troll out of your calculations, if you post near him."

Never mind the tribes of trolls overrunning teh Intarwebs 2.0.

What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (-1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750548)

He was expecting wise, logical comments from republican crowd ? Maybe he isnt the one to give us counsel on values of comments on the internet.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750598)

Yeah because democrats are better?

Lets just say that both major parties have an underlying sameness that prevents any progress other than over tiny issues.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (-1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750768)

Anyone who says the two major parties are the same isn't sentient.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750846)

they can be the same depending on what criteria you use

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750894)

So what are the major difference between the two parties?

The democrats want a -bit- more government, and are totally willing to enforce the parts of the constitution they like, namely the right to free speech (so long as you aren't promoting "hate" crimes, can't have true freedom now can we?). The republicans want a -bit- less government, and are totally willing to enforce the second amendment but forget any right to privacy (look at the PATRIOT Act), etc.

Ok, so you might get different views on abortion, welfare, etc. but forget any real debate over hard money, real tax reform, elimination of various government programs, etc.

They are two sides to the same coin and any differences serve to cloud the main issue of sameness.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750926)

but... but... neither of them agree with my personal savior Ron Paul! Therefore, they are exactly the same.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750954)

They are the same. They're both fucking us up the ass while they profit. That's all that fucking counts.

They need to DIE so new people with better ideals and (hopefully) less greed come into power.

Re:What ? Wisdom ? Republicans ? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750780)

Both sides of are equally stupid. When you go Far RIght you are hindering all progress. If you go to the far Left you are trying to fix things that doesn't need to be fixed, or with solutions that just makes them worse.

When you open the gates for public opinion you are going to get the Crazies from both sides. And because they feel so insanely strong about their opinion they will be the most vocal... Drowning out the ideas of the more sane people.

Fark Has Moderation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750592)

???????

Just fix it (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750596)

It's an absolute disaster. It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't,' Curtis said."

Just fix your sarcasm detector?

It's called Poe's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750616)

It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't

"If it is impossible to tell whether something is being parodied or taken seriously, then that something is genuinely stupid."
--Krohn's Corollary to Poe's Law.

If you have a dumb idea and are relying upon people to tell you that it's a dumb idea rather than make fun of you, then you've already lost, because you can't tell who is helping you and who is making fun of you.

The solution? Educate yourself before you tell everyone your dumb idea!

Welcome to the internet (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750628)

America Speaking Out website recently launched by House Republicans to allow the public to weigh in on the issues and vote for policy positions they support. Curtis called the site an 'absolute train wreck.' 'It's an absolute disaster. It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't,' Curtis said."

Really now? You expect that a site where people can make policy decisions via the internet wouldn't be trolled to hell by 4chan or the like?

Really, you can't take anything on the internet to be 100% seriously this is true from news articles (look at how many people use The Onion as a "reliable" source) to voting.

I've always felt (2, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750662)

I've always felt the rest of the world was stupider than me, too. Of course, in my case, I'm obviously smarter than this Fark creator.

He misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750670)

The guy completly misunderstands the point of "the wisdom of the crowds". As he says, only 1% of comments on a story are useful, and that's true. But no one ever said that the entire crowd would be smart. Just that if you get a crowd of people together, a few good ideas (and a ton of bad ones) will come up far faster than a single individual thinking alone.

  Of course you still need moderators to filter out the good stuff from the bad. No one ever said otherwise. That doesn't invalidate the concept of "wisdom of the crowds", though.

Re:He misses the point (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750708)

I think you're right. "The wisdom of crowds" refers to the cream of the crop, not the average. The bigger the crowd is, the bigger 1% of the crowd is, and the better the chance of insightful, intelligent commentary. Not really a difficult concept.

He's right! But it's old news (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750684)

Just look at the people who they have representing them. And the market! Jeeze! How much more crap can we cram onto the shelves? The "crowd" may consist of humans, but it acts on pure animal instinct.

Misapplication (5, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750692)

It was noted in the original paper that the wisdom of crowds applies when comprised of aggregate decisions of individuals making decisions as individuals. On most websites this is not what you get.

Drew goes so far as to imply (by my reading) that crowds act more stupidly than individuals. These crowd failures are identified and discussed even on the Wiki page [wikimedia.org], most notably relevant to Fark.com and Americans Speaking Out:

Where choices are visible and made in sequence, an "information cascade"[2] can form in which only the first few decision makers gain anything by contemplating the choices available: once past decisions have become sufficiently informative, it pays for later decision makers to simply copy those around them. This can lead to fragile social outcomes.

Emotional factors, such as a feeling of belonging, can lead to peer pressure, herd instinct, and in extreme cases collective hysteria.

Due to the nature of the websites various factors come into play which ruin contra to requirements for "the wisdom of crowds". Not forgetting that if it's on the internet, it's probably not being taken seriously and therefore is hardly a gauge of anything.

(I'm not wanting to be seen as endorsing the "wisdom of crowds", I'll take the wisdom of a few experts instead thank you very much, but the argument presented here is extremely flawed).

Re:Misapplication (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32751010)

Yes, but do you take the wisdom of a crowd of experts, or the wisdom of one expert?
Wisdom of the crowds is fine. It doesn't mean any yahoo. If anyone can join then it's more of a mob.

Online anonymity = Trash (5, Insightful)

udoschuermann (158146) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750696)

I suspect that the anonymity granted by a mere handle online gives many people license to compete for "points" on any ground that can get a laugh or comparable reaction from their online peers. The few who may have actually something to contribute to society will either find their attempts drowned out by that crowd, or won't bother to frequent Fark towards that end.

By comparison, I find that Slashdot's peer-based moderation system fares quite well in filtering the noise. It's not perfect, but the Slashdot crowd seems also a good bit less driven to cash in on quick, cheap thrills.

On the whole, though, I trust far more in the thoughtfully conducted discourse of the considerate few, than the multidirectional pull of large crowds. I wonder if that says something, too, about the effectiveness of our democracy.

$mod down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32750744)

much as Wi8dows purposes *BSD is fatal mistakes, As f1ttingly BSD culminated in numbers. The loss EFNet servers.

Processing (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750764)

Not to put forth pyschobable, but such things such as websites, preceded by talk shows, preceded by letters to the editor, give the public a means to process information. Much of it is just people being angry or irrationally dogmatic but that has value as well. Giving angry people a venue will often calm them down, and we must hope that an open communication in which dogmatic people are allowed to speak can only help society overall. Eventually the people who hold to superstitions in the face of overwhelming practical evidence will be worn down. All things we consider previously moral change through this process. Just look at how marriage has decayed in the face of practicalities. Ronald Reagan abandoned his wife for no apparent reason, and he was deemed one of the greatest moral and conservative men who lived. Newt Gringrich abondoned his wife and children, and claimed he could not pay child support, he then cheated on his second wife. Again, the man is promoted as the as the man who brought values back to America. The same goes for McCain who left his wife for someone who made more money. The fact that christian conservatives would sanctify these men who consider marriage to be worthless just shows how the process crates an evolution of values.

One of the main things that one might say about the crowd is that it leads to groupthink, in which false statements are allowed to be pushed as true because no one has the ethical or moral ability to deny them as true. No matter one's political persuasion, one cannot say this of America Speaking Out. On the healthcare page, the listing show that people are overwhelming against limiting abortions, though not so much for the absolute legalization of abortion. This shows that people are thinking for themselves. The idea to make english the official language is also way down. When I first say the site I thought it would be a joke, but it has been kind of interesting to review. One of the first ideas to make it to the top was the taxing of churches.

I think if we did do what the people wanted, the crowd, we might be ok. The problem is that what the people wants tend to be a weighted average in which the amount of money one has plays a significant role. This is not necessarily bad, but if we want to do what the people want, then it should be all people, not just the rich. Look at the oil spill. It was said that we all want cheap oil at any cost, but it turns out people want fresh seafood as well. People make more money off oil, so that is priority of the rich. The common person though likes affordable food as well.

"Fark" is still around? (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750800)

I hadn't heard that site mentioned in years.

If Politico or the New Republic or the Huffington Post said that, they might have a point. Any anonymous site is going to have low-quality comments.

Re:"Fark" is still around? (2, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750892)

What makes fark "anonymous" but something like HuffPo not? Perhaps there's a market for a real-name-only, must post your address discussions site, but it'll be largely unused in this world.

Obligatory xkcd (4, Interesting)

nixish (1390127) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750838)

http://xkcd.com/756/ [xkcd.com] Mildly related to the summary (the secret hovering remark from this particular comic): "News networks giving a greater voice to viewers because the social web is so popular are like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg and fleeing customers, figures ice is the future and starts making snow cones."

Flattery will get you everywhere (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750920)

Regardless of how true it is that a lot of strong opinions are attached to people who are highly ignorant, people don't want to hear that. Tell it to them, and they not only won't vote for you, they'll consider burning down your house.

This is the idiot that put ads in his premium area (1, Offtopic)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750938)

I used to pay for totalfark, the premium version of fark, then this idiot decided to show totalfarkers what their money meant to him and loaded even that area with ads, fuck him.

He got greedy so folks went elsewhere.

Slashdot another perfect example (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 3 years ago | (#32750970)

People crowd onto slash and say the most stupid things. Most of the comments are a crap full of troll bait. The articles are crap. Fark.com is crap. I'm full of crap and wasting a crap load of time just spewing out this crappy comment. Strangely I feel better afterwards.

there is a danger in his feelings (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32751016)

the problem is, his feelings lead one to think this dangerous thought: "99% of the crowd is dumb... therefore, we need some more trustworthy entity for wisdom"

when you say that, you've committed a worse stupidity than the aggregate stupidity of the crowd

what he says is essentially true, the crowd is stupid in aggregate. getting wisdom from the crowd is a process of gleaning the nuggets from the bullshit. the problem comes when the process of separating the wheat from the chaff gets so tedious that you wish there were a shortcut, that you wish there were some special class of people who are better than the average man, and trust them for wisdom instead. which is a FAR more dangerous thought than simply recognizing the plainly obvious stupidity of crowds. there's no shortcuts: placing your trust in some sort of clique or aristocratic division is when the REAL trouble starts

so yes, people are dumb. but yet it is even dumber to trust some small segment of people according to some ill-defined parameters of what wisdom is instead

i think drew has just been modding too much. if i were a proctologist, i would be sick of looking at assholes too. if i were modding comments all day, and i was constantly exposing myself to the kind of mental diarrhea you see when browsing slashdot at -1, then i would hate people and crowds as well

i think reading the shallow end of the comment pool constantly will turn you into a misanthrope, a hater of mankind

limit your exposure to the idiot area of comment boards, or it will give you brain damage

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