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Mob-Sourcing — the Prejudice of Crowds

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the familiar-territory dept.

Communications 178

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet takes a look at how crowd-moderation can capture and reflect the prejudice of individuals. 'As more web content is crowd-sourced and crowd-moderated, are we seeing only the wisdom of crowds? No, we're also seeing their prejudice. The Internet reflects both the good and ugly in human nature. ... Any system relying on people implicitly encodes prejudices as well. In a world where one politician with a call girl is forced to resign and another is handily reelected, there is no hope for moral or intellectual consistency in crowd-sourced or moderated content.'"

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Clearly (4, Insightful)

Corbets (169101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170298)

Anyone who needed ZDNet to tell them this clearly hasn't been on Slashdot very long.

Re:Clearly (3, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170332)

Anyone who needed ZDNet to tell them this clearly hasn't been on Slashdot very long.

Yeah, just look at many of the moderations in the previous two articles on Linux and Apple.

Re:Clearly (4, Funny)

edumacator (910819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170836)

That's just stupid. Let's all mod this jerk down...

Re:Clearly (1)

stuckinphp (1598797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171230)

You know what I actually found this /. post interesting and relevant.. too scared to load zdnet again though. So I took the time of your post "Tuesday November 09, @06:10PM". And I found this little gem in YFA's -

"After this, Apple users on Slashdot will defend Steve Jobs. They'll state this can happen on any operating system, and that it is not Apple's responsibility. Then they're say how they are immune to viruses. They'll rejoice when they get their new version of Safari, which is limited to Apple's pre-approved sites.

Then their call will cut out, their screen will break, and their data will disappear. Steve Jobs will tell them that they are "holding it wrong". Apple fans will then bend over and take this abuse, at a personal cost of $4000."

Clearly here we totally think as a group and have exactly the same position on all things from hardware to software. Oh and we respect each other greatly.

- sent from my.. oh F**K, I don't even know anymore.

Re:Clearly (2, Informative)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170452)

beat me to it; I figured there would be some comment about Slashdot groupthink (not 100% by any means, but very often a significant majority of people lean a certain way on here TBH)

Re:Clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170522)

Music is about music, not tangential business/politics.

Precisely why I don't listen to RIAA music. Well, one of the reasons.

regarding the reply to my signature (1, Interesting)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170712)

Do you figure non-RIAA music is better? Most anyone’s “better” is different. Fair enough, make the quality distinction that fits you without getting into label ideology. If the indie model really makes it better, let that influence quality and then make the quality distinction directly.

I say similar things about open-source.

P.S. – do you listen to really good classic popular music? That kind of stuff tends to be on the major labels just as surely as the modern mainstream stuff you’re likely decrying.

P.P.S – do you mean that non-RIAA musicians tend to focus more on the music itself, rather than nonmusic aspects? Steak versus sizzle is another hard to address “better” argument. I figure you need some of both, although I personally have developed a desire for a higher mix of ‘sizzle’ recently.

Re:regarding the reply to my signature (0, Offtopic)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171598)

Naa; they've just worked out that giving money to the RIIA is a stoopid thing to do no matter what their fanbois say. They'll get more original music, featuring more talent, for less, by shopping elsewhere.

Re:Clearly (0, Offtopic)

Phopojijo (1603961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170940)

But... that's... tangential politics...

Re:Clearly (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171086)

Actually crowdsourcing isn't perfect but it looks so awesome because it is a way to bypass clueless bosses and a typical hierarchy who thinks that a handful of prejudice is a "science of management".

Re:Clearly (1, Insightful)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171124)

Most people can't grasp the fact that if you put a random employee in place of the CEO in the company, the company will most likely grind to a halt or even disintegrate. When you consider the fact that it's hard to get a few Slashdot engineers to agree on a single issue, you should know it takes a ton of skills for someone to pull the board, the investors, marketing, engineering, accounting, etc. together and have them actually do work.

Re:Clearly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171672)

> you should know it takes a ton of skills for someone to pull the board, the investors,
> marketing, engineering, accounting, etc. together and have them actually do work

"Do this work or be dismissed."

"Also, that policy I implemented last year was a disaster so one of you will have to take the rap for it."

Those sort of skills?

Re:Clearly (4, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172732)

http://oldweb.ct.infn.it/cactus/peter_principle_sup_material.html [ct.infn.it]

Actually, some serious works seem to indicate that when promotions are randomly distributed, an organization is more efficient than when promotions are distributed by regular managers. So we can now say with scientific proofs that comparing managers to monkeys is actually insulting for the monkeys.

Re:Clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171542)

I had a taste of that when the moderation system recently decided to revoke my permanent modding privileges which I have held for the past few years. I am guessing this happened since I recently modded a few posts up which were marked troll, but I found of value, although not following major opinion here. I knew it was highly dangerous ;) So possibly the moderation system seems to self-regulate towards a majority opinion through meta moderation. I cannot say that I spontaneously can think of a way to improve the system though, ./ still has one of the better moderation systems around, but this deserves some tweaking at least.

Re:Clearly (2, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171652)

Slashdot actually had a reasonably well-implemented user moderation system, though. If you want spectacular fail, try (for example) Feministe's rather short-lived [feministe.us] user moderation setup, which made the site totally useless for its intended purpose of fighting oppression. (It was briefly a very good place for well-off white women to complain about how the uppity black women were whinging too much without hearing too much from them, though.)

Re:Clearly (2, Funny)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170568)

Mod parent down.

Re:Clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171530)

Anyone who needed ZDNet to tell them this clearly hasn't been on Slashdot very long.

That's the first thing I thought as well.

Then I thought "Why is this story tagged 'craigslist' and not 'slashdot'?"

Re:Clearly (2, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171704)

The expression "wisdom of crowds" always brings up a mental image of a cattle stampede.

Re:Clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172222)

and lemming stage dives.

Re:Clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172294)

please stay on the subject. what has this discussion anything to do with apple users?

Re:Clearly (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172224)

Did they stop to consider that the same results would appear in a project put together by managed hirelings? I doubt the number of people necessary to a project changes significantly between open and closed source projects. I can imagine the most "prejudices" reflected would be those of the decision makers ,board ,management , but personal touches of employees show up everywhere.

Hmph, someones study, prejudiced to reflect supportive results, used as filler by a dying media shouting "look at me, I'm still relevant!"

Re:Clearly (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172682)

Anyone who needed ZDNet to tell them this clearly hasn't been on Digg [conservablogs.com] very long.

Calling Hari Seldon (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170328)

Someone needs to give it a mathematical treatment.

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (3, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170424)

Someone needs to give it a mathematical treatment.

It's been done. Years ago, it was determined that the intelligence of a group of humans is inversely proportional to log(N), where N is the number of people in the group.

Actually, there has been some dispute over exactly what sort of (inverse) function applies, since in some groups, the leaders find ways to divide the group up into functional sub-groups. This produces a set of smaller groups, each with a higher intelligence than the entire group would have if it worked together. But then the top-level intelligence is limited by the inter-group communication, so a similar function may be used to combine the subgoups' intelligence into a measure of the entire group's intelligence, and we all know how exponential functions combine, right? What? Some of us don't? Uh ....

There have been some wags that claim that the inverse function actually involves N squared or cubed, but there seems little evidence that (outside of politics) it's really all that bad.

There has also been some confusion caused by tests being done that included religious groups. But that data had to be discarded, since those groups tend to have a firm ban on the application of intelligence in any group activity, and researchers don't have tools capable of measuring the intelligence level of people who are blindly following (and misinterpreting) the commands of a leader. But there is hope that we may some day be able to measure quantities that small, similarly to how physicists can measure individual elementary particles. This may lead to some interesting results in the study of intelligence.

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170794)

But there is hope that we may some day be able to measure quantities that small, similarly to how physicists can measure individual elementary particles. This may lead to some interesting results in the study of intelligence.

i welcome the construction of the Large Hardline Collider.

fundamentalists are accelerated at near light-speed over 14 kilometres each and steered into each other, then the results analyzed.

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (1, Funny)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170902)

i welcome the construction of the Large Hardline Collider.

fundamentalists are accelerated at near light-speed over 14 kilometres each and steered into each other, then the results analyzed.

Analysis Complete: Nothing of value was lost.

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171564)

Ironically, you are a fundamentalist...

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172450)

An important corollary: nothing was created, either.

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171244)

Bad idea. People have been applying math to the stock market for a while now, and, as far as I can see, their purpose is not to bring stability, but to get rich. One fundamental requirement of using classical mathematics to control some system is that the system is not aware of the model being used (this is why markets fail when you allow speculation based on models of the market).
In order to treat humanity consistently, you need a math that can speak about itself consistently. Personally, I'm not sure if we have that yet (I know for sure that the language of set theory can't do that, and that means a lot of math).

Re:Calling Hari Seldon (2, Informative)

fridthjoff (1404069) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171924)

you need a math that can speak about itself consistently.

OT: Didn't Gödel [wikipedia.org] prove this to be impossible?

Why should this suprise anyone? (0, Flamebait)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170340)

In a world where one politician with a call girl is forced to resign and another is handily reelected, there is no hope for moral or intellectual consistency in crowd-sourced or moderated content.

The Republicans made so much noise prior to the just concluded elections and they won...won big! Now their maths awaits the test. The modus operandi is:

Make so much noise so often, and your argument will be believed. Even when it carries no sense at all.

Re:Why should this suprise anyone? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170420)

Also called the illusion of confidence.

Re:Why should this suprise anyone? (2, Insightful)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170572)

I think politics has its own brand of crowd sourcing. This [smbc-comics.com] sums things up nicely.

Dead Fish always float only downstream (2, Interesting)

arminw (717974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170382)

That is precisely why an my karma is in the cellar. Anyone who disagrees with the crowd anywhere, even on Slashdot, will get moderated into oblivion. I really think they ought to have a disagree option in the moderation system.

Nowhere ever, even once, has a crowd of people ever come up with anything great or outstanding. Progress in almost every human endeavor is made by people who are willing to swim against the current carrying all the dead fish that are floating downstream.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170460)

Never seen a building, then?

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (3, Funny)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170506)

I'll prove your first point, watch.

Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord and Life giving Spirit.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171416)

You have been modded up. Does that prove you're wrong?

That being said, have either of you bothered to think that English isn't the first language of all moderators? I just taught somebody who is struggling with figures of speech, I think. She kept writing stuff down from a movie, to show me, so that I could help her, and a lot of it didn't make any sense. I said to her, something like, "Are you sure that you put the words on at the bottom, and then copied it?" [i.e. put on the captions], and she kept saying yes. She looked like an absolute moron, but I didn't say anything. Later on, it dawned on me, that our language is built around the ability to redefine something at a given moment. We just have to replace 1 word with another to create a figure of speech, and if our listeners/readers have been participating in the context, then they'll understand without any problems. She was probably copying text from a character who was making fun of somebody. Perhaps the character was joking around, or criticizing somebody. I wouldn't know because the student never bothered writing down the context like I told her to.

Just in case anybody is wondering, she was wondering about something like, "pudge my arms around your neck". I suspect that in the original context [i.e. a Hugh Grant movie], the character was making a humourous recall to an earlier conflict, and saying that she/he had changed her/his mind.

1 thing I noticed about anti-group-think snobs, is that there is never any compelling proof that the critic fell into group think. It's always a criticism of other people followed up by evidence. Criticisms of group think are a prejudiced way of accusing others.

That being said, from own experiences, I was surprised that San Francisco appeared to flag people so often on Craig's List. Being the gay capital of the world, in my mind, I expected them to be a little more tolerant of things [e.g. high prices], but apparently not.

I suspect that people can reach only a certain level of tolerance. After that, they have to start being prejudiced in other areas. It would be like, having a million tolerance dollars, where you could spend it on 1 issue per person. If you wanted to tolerate 2 gays, then that would be 2 dollars. Maybe you want to tolerate 2 gays, a Hindu, a Muslim, WW II vet, and 3 family members, then that should cost you 8 tolerance dollars. It sure looks like you have a lot of money left, but what do you do about the rest of the world, since you only have 1,000,000 tolerance dollars? Well, if your gay friend is a Hindu, then I suppose that you could tolerate him for 1.5 tolerance dollars, but the idea is that you only have so much, before the next guy is considered an intolerant, stranger to you.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (2, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172134)

He's not the resurrected Lord and Life giving Spirit - he's a very naughty boy!

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170510)

Yes the system you used to post your comment was created by a singular fisherman, that's why it's called the "net". /sarcasm

I'd hazard a guess that your karma is in the cellar because your Gallileo complex prevents you from fully thinking thru what you are saying.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170516)

So, is this a shameless plug for Anonymous? Oh, silly me, no...THIS is a shameless plug.

Right, then, carry on.....

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (2, Interesting)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170562)

This post made me think of the Crackpot Index [ucr.edu] , i.e.:

40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.

on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172930)

Some of that is true, some isn't. Conspiracies DO exist to restrict technology to to make it appear worse than it is, etc, or to deny the existence of certain data points, etc, or to obfuscate in other situations. You can say this or that is just tin foil hat, but a counter is that you might be engaging in a conspiracy of FUD. (open source versus MS fud is an example)

There are some old well documented examples, say like the los angeles streetcar system and how it was destroyed, or how industrial hemp got the kabosh in the US because of du pont and some others, it was a threat to their plastics. The tucker automobile, or the GM EV1, how that got quashed. Various assassinations clearly have more to them than the "official" story, like JFK and MLK. Very large scale international banking establishments and big industrial establishments providing funding and support to competitive nations that were engaged in warfare.

Can we really say this or that is "crackpot" all the time, when some pretty spiffy advances get shelved, bought up and buried for a long time, like the oil company and large NiMH batteries?

I think it is way too easy to just throw out the tin foil hat label, a lot of times people HAVE come up with something that apparently gets wiped out due to a conspiracy at some level.

Here's one that got me going many years ago, UFOs. I mean, I, and a few friends, witnessed a super advanced flying craft at very close range back when I was a teen. It was obviously nothing even remotely close to what we have public knowledge of today, yet it for sure existed, and close enough and in detail enough to not have been misidentified, ie, it was not the planet venus shining through the clouds or any other common dismissive argument. And I am not alone, vast numbers of people have had similar observances, yet it is still "tinfoil hat" debated and dismissed by many.

look at the very recent government "investigation" of the BP oil spill, they are claiming that nothing shady went on, no shortcuts, nothing...I mean, who besides some of the BP shareholders really believe that? Yet, this is now the "official word" on the subject, move along now, nothing to see here...right.

So who knows about a lot of these things, we could very well have some pretty spiffy energy advances that have been quashed because they would threaten a lot of old well established big money business interests, and some where some advanced thinker with his energy whatever is steaming wondering why he can't get his breakthrough noticed. "Science" and the scientific establishment is just as full of politics and ego, engaging in conspiracy, and big money manipulating things as any other human endeavor. I give you..monsanto and their ilk for another example, or some but not all of the shenanigans associated with the carbon cap and trade trillion dollar wall street "market" being proposed and "climate science".

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (5, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170576)

I disagree with the crowd all the time on slashdot, and yet my karma's pretty good. If you can express your point of view intelligently, it doesn't matter so much if you agree or disagree with "the masses". Slashdot's system is far from perfect, but if you compare it to other online forums, it's clear that a well designed karma system can mine the intelligence from crowds. The fact that wikipedia is pretty good, and that it is hard to out-guess prediction markets are other examples.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170992)

It's true that a well written post will often get good moderations but it's still very slanted towards opinions favored by the crowd. A comment that isn't particularly well said stands a much better chance of getting a good rating if it doesn't agree with the RIAA or extol the virtues of IE6.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171062)

And I think that is how it should behave. If you agree with the people most of the time, they will be more likely to give you a listen when you have an opposing view.

But if you disagree with them on most things, why should they listen to you now? Karma systems like slashdot's do what we do in real life....learn from experience who is worth giving our attention to. There's good reason for it to work that way...given that our attention is a limited resource.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171438)

I suppose that you are looking for each post to be moderated in and of itself. They also have to be moderated in the context. If you don't agree with the *AA, or if you take an unpopular view, then you'll have to write bearing in mind that the issue has probably been discussed here, at least a hundred times. Just repeating an unpopular view will not justify a good moderation, even if you are 100% correct. So, yes, a poorly said popular statement will get better moderations. We can't expect much out of the group, before we stop complaining.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172558)

I've seen people say similar things about Slashdot before, it always strikes me that the people who are complaining give extraordinarily bad examples of how "Slashdot's groupthink" works. I understand the point that you're trying to make, but in reality there is little reason to agree with RIAA and no good reasons to extol "the virtues of IE6". The last time I someone complaining about a specific example, they were upset because they were moderated down for claiming that environmentalists must be planning to kill 90% of the world's population.

To be even more clear, in my experience bad moderation does happen from time to time, but the people who think it's common are usually crackpots who are upset that their crazy theories are ignored. Usually they think the moderation system is responsible, because the Dunning-Kruger effect [wikipedia.org] is hiding the real problem.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (4, Interesting)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171188)

Yet, there're many unwritten rules on Slashdot that have nothing to do with your comment's quality:
  1. If you post near the top, you're more likely to get modded up even if your comment is only mediocre or group think. You can actually quite accurately predict a post's mod points by measuring its position on the thread and its relevance - mod are lazy.
  2. Any rebuttal to your comment, even a very half-assed one, and especially the personal attack kind (!), is likely to get you, the parent poster, modded down. Happened to me many times, the mods are basically encouraging flamewars.
  3. Long, original posts take a long time to get moderation points - even though it can eventually get a 5 Informative from patient mods. Long, unoriginal post get the same points very easily because the poster copied it from the article or Wikipedia. So, original insights are being discouraged from this system unless you're someone famous like Steve Woz.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171574)

It's one of the strengths of Slashdot's moderation in that it encourages people to mod up more than mod down. Yes you occasionally get "-1 disagree" but most people would rather promote comments they like than bury ones that go against their point of view. It's not perfect and some most unpopular views, even when well argued get modded down.

Compare that to Reddit and Digg which give you unlimited scope to mod people down and you end up with a mob mentality and a horribly narrow range of extreme viewpoints. If you aren't an extreme cop hater, pro-cannabis pro RON PAUL(!!!) and don't thinks the Daily Show is the most accurate and informative news source on the planet, expect extreme downvoting. Gotta love a site where you can click on the username of someone you're having an argument with and downvote every comment they've made in the last few weeks.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170684)

I disagree with people all the time and am a downright asshole on here quite often. My karma is still high.

Of course, karma is an aggregate measure of reputation in a way. If your karma is low than you're likely a useless asshole to the community who is best gotten rid off. Not always but it's a good rule of thumb I'd say. Disagreeing with people all the time across every topic also likely means you're insane and delusional. Plus not contributing anything worthwhile, trivial to gain karma in various utterly neutral discussions, indicates you're here just as an ego trip and have no desire to help the community.

In general I found slashdot users actually quite good at moderating up intelligent and logical posts.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170724)

That is precisely why an my karma is in the cellar. Anyone who disagrees with the crowd anywhere, even on Slashdot, will get moderated into oblivion.

The reason why you have your karma in the cellar on Slashdot is because you're a creationist with a long posting history. The first time someone is seen making posts like that, they usually get a reply explaining why they're wrong. But when they persist in posting exact same arguments, already thoroughly debunked in countless past discussions, again and again - yeah, you'll get a Troll mod or whatever pretty soon.

Not from me, since I haven't seen mod points in years now (I think I post too much). But I'm not exactly surprised.

And, yeah, it's "groupthink" for sure. I don't see a problem with it, though. "Murder is bad" is also groupthink, and I'm certainly fine with that one.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170784)

So, in other words, dissenting opinions are quashed and diversity is not allowed. I think a lot of theophobes really don't understand what "tolerance" means.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170866)

Dissenting opinions are fine when they are substantiated. However, when the same opinion is repeatedly expressed without being substantiated, or when the arguments given in favor are obviously false (as they were reviewed and debunked when they first appeared a long time ago), and nothing new is added - such an opinion becomes mere boring drivel, and will get modded accordingly.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170936)

Anyone find it funny that my comment about dissenting opinions not being allowed got modded -1 Troll?

OK, I got it - as long as the dissenting opinions are acceptable and not debunked, they are acceptable. Of course, if they were acceptable and had been approved by the authorities, they wouldn't be dissenting opinions, would they? The problem is people using a definition of dissent that does not appear in the dictionary.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170980)

Interesting how you stretch what he said beyond it's meaning in an attempt to support your own point. Good example of how not to post.

OK, I got it - as long as the dissenting opinions are acceptable and not debunked, they are acceptable.

Yes, if it's been debunked then it's wrong and as such of low value. Glad to see we're on the same page.

Of course, if they were acceptable and had been approved by the authorities, they wouldn't be dissenting opinions, would they?

Yes, the mysterious secret alien authorities running slashdot and sucking out our brains wish to keep you in your place. Now shut up and stand still while they insert the straw.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (2, Interesting)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172178)

Now, I have no idea who the poster is that you're replying to, but the moderation here is often unthinking groupthink. A majority of people here start from a common basic premise for their thinking/logic on many issues. Anyone who begins with an opposing basic premise, even though they are a logical person, will end up at a much different conclusion than the majority. Groupthink then kicks in and that person is derided as illogical and stupid because because they ended up at a conclusion that seems illogical to those who started from an opposing basic premise, and the moderation around here reflects that attitude.

Around here Christians and conservatives are stupid, irrational, etc... and ad hominen attacks against them are commonplace. Those posts are modded down sometimes, but more often than not are modded up on nothing stronger than prejudice as the common basic premise between the poster and the moderator. Logical fallacies, such as ad hominen attacks, are not good examples of rational thinking and should never be promoted as such. Yet, here they are on a regular basis if you devote the attack toward what is a minority opinion on this site..

I've also been on sites where just the opposite is true for who is seen as irrational and illogical. The secularist is modded as troll and illogical, and ad hominen attacks against them are modded up on those sites. Neither group of mods is doing a good job, and neither group of posters show tolerance for logic that has its origins in a basic premise that opposes their own.

What does it say about our society when we, as a society, are eating our own because of our differences in basic premises? How is this sustainable? How is this good for society? If this keeps on in the same direction it will end in some type of civil war as civility between opposing points of view is rapidly deteriorating. Both sides will have their own thought police. Is that really a society any of us want to live in? If you don't like that society you're the only one who can change our current direction as the only way the current direction our society is taking can change is for individuals to change. Government can't do anything about it, other than try to legislate what point of view is allowed, and I don't really think anyone wants to go there.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

qqqlo (1191709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171936)

This guy does inadvertently raise a potentially interesting question: from inside your own brain, how can you tell whether you are dead wrong or a persecuted visionary?

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172264)

I haven't gotten mod points in like 2 years, either, and I don't post NEARLY as much as you. It's really disappointing. I've even tried things like meta-moderating and re-enabling ads. I wish there was some explanation of how it worked.

And to keep this on topic, Slashdot definitely suffers from groupthink on a lot of issues. While eventually insightful, but dissenting comments may rise up to a 3 or 4 score, they often start off being dropped to 0 with moderations like "overrated" when they don't even have any other moderations yet. They have to climb back up from that which usually takes several hours or sometimes a day or two, and if it's not a particularly popular topic, that might never happen, and very often it doesn't happen until the story is pushed past the top of the front page.

By the time Slashdot's system corrects itself, it's "too late" for the majority of readers (and I guarantee the majority does not browse at 0 or -1 threshold).

It is definitely better than a site like Digg, where literally any political cartoon saying "Republicans are dumb!" is guaranteed to get like 1000 diggs and be on the front page, while any political cartoon saying "Democrats are dumb!" will stay at 0 indefinitely. But it's still far from perfect.

Re:Dead Fish always float only downstream (2, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172480)

"Murder is bad" is also groupthink, and I'm certainly fine with that one.

Actually, that's not groupthink but a religious commandment.

One thing with those ten commandments, though. Of those that deal with human-human relationships and not the human-god relationship, they sure have stood the test of time. Lots of things were important then that aren't important now, but that list is pretty universal.

Wow! Have they discovered Wikipedia? (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170392)

Welcome back to reality newbs!

Who, ANYPLACE, promised you prejudice-free surfing on any site on the Internet?

And did you buy a bridge from them?

Re:Wow! Have they discovered Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170582)

Wikipedia? Yes, it is clearly an example of bias and prejudice.

Write an article on one subject, it'll get deleted.

An article on a different subject, but similar content...will be defended to the death.

Not because of a difference in notability, or references, but because the one is much better than the other.

Don't believe? Go check some of the pages that are nothing more than a list of chess moves, or a random description of a not particularly important element, or a pointless object somewhere in the world that nobody cares about. Yet it is in some database or book so it's reference so it must be kept. Then find an article being deleted on a Pokemon, or a television show, or a book series. Watch it get trashed.

Huzzah for the fairness of Wikipedia!

Re:Wow! Have they discovered Wikipedia? (1)

drumstik (624763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170938)

I don't think that unimportant elements really exist, what with being the constituents of matter and all. I, at least, am perfectly comfortable with deleting articles on worthless pop culture wherein creepy internet nerds write ten thousand words on the symbolic significance of blastoise as compared to the savior-figure in Babylonian creation myths. Actually, that might be interesting. Just take out the Pokemon parts and move it to an article on Babylonian creation myths. It pains some to hear it, but Wikipedia does not need a plot analysis of every Dragon Ball Z episode. However, it really should list all the elements. Chess is a historically relevant game, which additionally present a computationally interesting problem, and is the basis for several other interesting mathematical problems. No one over the age of twelve cares about Pokemons. When they build supercomputers to play Pokemon professionals, maybe it'll be noteworthy.

Re:Wow! Have they discovered Wikipedia? (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170644)

Welcome back to reality newbs!

Who, ANYPLACE, promised you prejudice-free surfing on any site on the Internet?

And did you buy a bridge from them?

Heh. No, I didn't fall for that old trick!

Say, did you all happen to catch a look at my new blocks of ice just outside the igloo? Pretty fancy!

Re:Wow! Have they discovered Wikipedia? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170678)

Actually, the last guy who promised me prejudice-free anything to do with groups bought a bridge from me. And a couple of routers or switches IIRC, and at retail price when they were well-used and obsolete.

Do we need consistency? (2, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170418)

After giving it a bit of thought, I don't think consistency is too much of a problem. Things that 100% of people like will be up 100% of the time. Things 99% of people like will be up 99% of the time. If only half of people think it is proper, it will be removed half the time. And so on, until we reach the things everybody hates, which will be immediately removed. What happens is that things some people dislike will be reduced, but still available, giving us a compromise - people who disapprove will not encounter it as often, but those who desire it can still seek it out and obtain it. Sure, edge cases may be problematic - if only one in a thousand people considers something acceptable, it will be difficult to find; people who are easily offended will still be often offended. But those are the outliers - for the majority of the probability distribution, it will be relatively fair. Much more so than letting a select few moderate all the content, at any rate - by increasing the number of moderators, you decrease the effect any one has.

Re:Do we need consistency? (2, Interesting)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170528)

Except moderation schemes are usually skewed towards hiding things. Look at slashdot: Say 10 people moderate the same post. Half of them like it, half of them hate it. So it gets -5 Troll and +5 insightful or something. It's still at 0 or 1. Nobody will see it.

Plus, people only read so many items on the average site. So say we have a news site where the highest ranked items go to the top of the front page (basically how Digg works? I think? Maybe?) Well, if 100% or 99% etc of the people like an article, it'll be at the top, and everyone will read it. But if the site has a lot of readers and a lot of articles, the things that only 50% or 75% of the readers like will still get buried too low for anyone to actually read them.

What we need to solve that problem is more filters on what type of content you want to see - but then people only see things they agree with, further reinforcing their prejudices. There's really no good system I guess.

Re:Do we need consistency? (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170654)

Note also that the penalty for a -1 Troll is far more damaging than a +1 Insightful is beneficial.

A post with 10 moderations, of which 5 are -1 Troll and 5 are +1 Insightful, will have +-0 points, but the poster will most likely have had his karma reduced to Bad or Terrible. Any post that pertains to any mildly controversial subject, no matter how well argued, will reduce the karma of the poster. Given this negative feedback loop, only posters who spout along the lines of this site's zeitgeist are rewarded.

One man's insightful or interesting post is another man's troll. Given the relative weightings of the current karma system, Insightful, Interesting, and Funny posts are unequally and negatively balanced by the Troll and Flamebait moderations they attract. Funny moderations are worse in that they inflate post scores without a corresponding increase in karma, so they are ripe for the Overrated moderation which cannot be remedied in metamod. This leaves only Informative posts which are not prone to negative moderations, but that is only if the poster can refrain from giving any strong opinion.

A site full of Informative posts is great for what it is. However it is not really a great conversational environment where people are able to express strong feelings or argue with any vehemency. Unfortunately that is what Slashdot's negatively weighted moderation system has created. In order to eliminate the trolls here, they have taken measures that reduce the likelihood of good posts and increase the number of lukewarm, mediocre posts.

Re:Do we need consistency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170766)

That's what the "post anonymously" checkbox is for.

The Republic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170430)

I believe Plato covered this concept a while ago

I propose... (3, Insightful)

drmofe (523606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170448)

...not having RTFA, that the article is bogus.

Who's with me?

Re:I propose... (4, Interesting)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170658)

...not having RTFA, that the article is bogus.

Who's with me?

Having read the article, the author was irritated that some listings on craigslist got deleted, thought that it was unfair, and spun that into speculation about how moderation through the crowd might encode some prejudices in some way that he hasn't really thought through.

So, it's not bogus so much as half-baked.

I'm on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170474)

and this isn't a FOSS promotion article?

Boycott and vote it all down!

Oh this explains it all.... (1)

rshxd (1875730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170476)

... explains the Mac cult

I am Shocked! (3, Insightful)

Loopy (41728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170480)

Shocked, I tell you, to find humanity in here!

And another great quote: a person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Or, how about a big plate of SPAM? (3, Insightful)

one cup of coffee (1623645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170482)

More and more it appears the so called voice of the crowd is becoming the voice of the organization paying the spammers.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/11/02/follow-the-%E2%80%9Ctruthy%E2%80%9D-tweets-to-find-twitter%E2%80%99s-political-spammers/ [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Or, how about a big plate of SPAM? (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170628)

"But I don't *like* spam!"

QQ Less, Pew Pew More (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170550)

This dude's butthurt whine about Craigslist is somehow cast as a contemporary political drama titled "Mob-Sourcing — the Prejudice of Crowds"? Am I in the .onion TLD or something?

Re:QQ Less, Pew Pew More (1)

Israfels (730298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170692)

The reason we live in a Republic is because a true Democracy almost always degrades into mob rule and eventually an Oligarchy. When stepping back and looking at the big picture, it becomes more obvious that's it's happening right now.

Re:QQ Less, Pew Pew More (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170732)

The reason we live in a Republic is because a true Democracy almost always degrades into mob rule and eventually an Oligarchy.

Any form of government where all citizens have a say can degrade into a mob rule - you can only try to increase the size of the mob that it takes to make it happen (by creating laws such as "need 3/4 votes to amend Constitution" etc), but you cannot avoid it except for a benevolent dictatorship (and those things stop being benevolent real quick IRL, even where they start as such).

Re:QQ Less, Pew Pew More (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170792)

[citation needed]

Re:QQ Less, Pew Pew More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171550)

[citation needed]

Citation- 300 and 900 sections (using the Dewey system) at your local public library.
That's Sociology and History, respectively.

I'd post a direct link for you, but the post you answered was making a general statement about World History so a specific link would not be appropriate, and I'm not going to waste my time doing your homework for you.

Re:QQ Less, Pew Pew More (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171002)

I don't know what the hell you're talking about, and neither do you.

You sure as hell can't RTFA though.

What the fuck does "QQ" mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172244)

What the fuck are you talking about?

Our findings prove our findings are prejudice. (4, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170554)

Wait, so someone actually used crowd sourcing as a way to gather information for a study against the common wisdom of crowd sourcing -- which reveals that crowd sourcing is prejudiced?

They expect us to believe that their "wisdom" gained from "crowd" sourcing shows "'the wisdom of the crowd' is prejudiced", and theirs isn't?

Uh... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170596)

The web might be filled with prejudice but this is a guy who got flagged on craigslist as a business because he accepted credit cards. That would sound like a business to me too. I'm so sorry Craig isn't ready to come down and give you special treatment honey...

"Editor gets treatment he doesn't like, says them inner-tubes iz evil, news at eleven"

Re:Uh... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170860)

And then he wrote a comment on craigslist explaining how a non business can accept credit cards, and this article did get deleted.

Already learned... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170674)

I learned this the hard way when I posted a counter-argument explaining a logical fallacy in a poster's statement. I had mentioned that logic should dictate the outcome of a decision and not political motivations. Because I was arguing against an extreme liberal I got called a conservative, Nazi, fascist, baby-killer, and got flagged and modded out of existence.

So now I always post anonymously (if available) when I argue logic against liberals.

Re:Already learned... (2, Interesting)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170774)

I call BS here. I don't think you got modded into oblivion for "mentioning that logic should dictate the outcome of a decision and not political motivations." Hell - I'm an extreme liberal and I agree 100% with that statement. I'm thinking it was probably something else that you said.

Show us the post that got you modded out of existence.

Re:Already learned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172496)

I learned this the hard way when I posted a counter-argument explaining a logical fallacy in a poster's statement.

Citation needed. Everyone thinks they are logical. The people who post here seldom are.

Regarding Hookers, etc. (0, Offtopic)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170768)

I don't have an issue with Bill Clinton banging the fat chick, or Elliot Spitzer cheating on his wife with a hooker, or Fluffy the Trial Lawyer knocking up some over-the-hill political groupie. That's between them and their wives, as far as I'm concerned. What I do have an issue with, is Bill Clinton lying under oath, Elliot Spitzer having prosecuted other people for the same thing he was doing himself, and Fluffy spending campaign money on covering up his sordid tryst.

-jcr

Re:Regarding Hookers, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171186)

Make love not war in the White House.
Bring back Clinton :-)

Re:Regarding Hookers, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171634)

Wow, talk about off-topic.

In regards to Clinton, he did not technically lie under oath, because what he did with the Fat Lady was not legally considered to be "sexual relations".
And considering that the witch hunt was sponsored by the GOP, who were the same people who demanded a strict, conservative definition of "sexual relations", it's rather appropriate that he made such a statement.
Personally, I really don't care. And I don't understand why he bothered showing up in the first place, he was under no obligation to testify or answer any questions to start with.

But what really bothers me, is that everybody remembers that statement, and the dress, and the Fat Chick, but nobody likes to mention how Clinton was trying to kill this little-known radical named Osama Bin Laden but the GOP kept denying his funding and requests for formal military action. They about had a coniption when he launched cruise missiles and took out one of Al-Qaeda's training camps, which was part of their incentive to try and impeach him.
Yes, that's right, I said it. The impeachment effort involving the Fat Chick was primarily motivated as a result of Clinton's attempts to crack down on Bin Laden and his terrorist group. The GOP didn't really want people paying attention to the fact that Bin Laden was originally OUR man, trained by the CIA in fact. When Clinton left office he specifically told Bush that we needed to watch out for Bin Laden because he was up to something, and in fact on 9/11 when Clinton heard of the attack he said "It's Bin Laden, he finally got to us."

Are you sure that Clinton lied under oath? (2, Informative)

Sara Chan (138144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171826)

Are you sure that Clinton lied under oath?

Clinton was asked, under oath, if he had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton did not immediately answer the question, but instead asked what was meant by a "sexual relationship". He was told that a sexual relationship was a relationship where they had sexual intercourse [wikipedia.org] . Clinton then said that he did not have a sexual relationship with Lewinsky.

Clinton and Lewinsky had oral sex, but they did not have sexual intercourse. Clinton was slippery, but he does not seem to have lied.

Re:Are you sure that Clinton lied under oath? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172344)

Setting up a situation where you can say something that, on its face is a lie according to the understanding of the average person, but due to having previous set a bunch of conditions about how you answer the question, would not technically be a lie, is the worst kind of lie.

Digg was a classic example of such bias. (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170780)

Was? Is? Whatever, I don't go there.

I noticed this effect the first time I saw Digg. A topic that started to trend would stay toward the top, and be seen my many more people, so it tended to trend even more, which means it stays near the top even more... and soon this bias becomes not just obvious, but enormous.

Theoretically it could happen even to a topic that was voted up by only a very few people, if they did it at about the same time. Which means that there is a certain amount of Chaotic nature to trending topics on Digg, and the eventual trends may bear very little resemblance to peoples' actual preferences, were a simple vote or some other measure taken for comparison.

Capitalism (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34170914)

In a privatized society, the public space is owned by individuals and corporations.

It is thus not public but private. Owned and ruled by whatever incentives and agendas those individuals and corporations have.

Said agendas are thus usually politic, religious or to make profit.

There's your free speech right there.

Me, I like state-owned and thus non-profit institutions framed in constitutions defending the right of the individual.

Wikipedia fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171134)

Pff. This is why "unnotable" material is deleted from wikipedia, because the material isn't notable to the majority.

So some articles, that people spent hours, if not days or months writing is deleted because one person thinks it's unnotable and gathers the meat puppets to kill the article. They succeed most of the time because the material in question isn't interesting to the nerds that run Wikipedia. But oh yes, we must have an article on every goddamn pokemon thing.

Read this before it gets modded down! (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171338)

We see this on Slashdot all the time. Basement dweller eventually gets some mod points, fails to understand what being a mod is about, then mods down anything they don't agree with.

There's no way on slashdot to appeal this. In theory metamodding would catch it but I've tried it and it's boring (you don't know the context) and incredibly inefficient (because most mods are fine). It would be far better if you could flag a bad mod on a post and have *that* reviewed.

On Reddit, they call it 'the hivemind' (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171552)

Which is useful as a yardstick to avoid, otherwise you're copy&pasting with your brain

James Madison Said It First (2, Interesting)

TTL0 (546351) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171624)

"Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.

Alert to the dangers of majoritarian tyranny, the Constitution's framers inserted several anti-majority rules.
http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/politics/democracy/5496-Abhorrence-Democracy-and-Mob-Rule.html [capitalismmagazine.com]

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