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Social Influence and the Wisdom of Crowd Effect

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the none-of-us-are-as-dumb-as-all-of-us dept.

Social Networks 143

formfeed writes "A lot has been written lately on the crowd effect and the wisdom of crowds. But for those of us who are doubtful, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has published a study showing how masses can become dumber: social influence. While previous studies show how groups of people can come up with remarkably accurate results, it seems 'even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect in simple estimation tasks.' Social influence 'diminishes the diversity of the crowd without improvements of its collective error.' In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden."

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Well (5, Insightful)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169818)

duh?

Just look at Facebook.

Re:Well (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169986)

I'd like you all to join me in modding this comment "insightful."

cheers,

And therein lies the difference (4, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171014)

Facebook is just plain crowd: like a mob with everyone shouting.

Slashdot is a crowd moderated by randomly selected crowd-members, with multiple-moderation, meta-moderation, and karma-influence.

That's a huge difference. And you can see it. On Facebook, there's an endless stream of garbage. On slashdot, you can go back to an article that has matured and just read the 4s and 5s and get a pretty good sense of the best content.

No slashdot ain't close to perfect. What this shows however is that "wisdom of the crowds" is variable based on the system used. The more complex and well thought-out the system, the more wise the crowd gets.

Re:Well (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170144)

Why do I need to click anything?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170538)

Because everyone is doing it.

Re:Well (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170226)

Let me fix that for you:

"duh?
"Just look at [Slashdot]."

Especially pay attention to the mod points of persons who post things contrary to the socialthink of this group. Like saying, for example, "I tried Ubuntu linux but didn't really like it. So I went back to WinXP (or Mac)." Or "Sony is a great company." ;-)

j/k

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170272)

Yeah, um, about those down moddings you receive. Perhaps if you were a bit better informed and less of an idiot you wouldn't get modded down so frequently.

You can have extremely high karma and still be posting contrary to group think if you actually think about what you're posting.

Re:Well (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171078)

You can have extremely high karma and still be posting contrary to group think if you actually think about what you're posting.

What you fail to consider is that you can get high karma much faster if your posts merely reinforce the slashdot group think. The GP is correct, groupthink is more highly reward on slashdot than independent thought.

Re:Well (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171152)

and atheism

9 out of 10 slashdot geezers agree (2, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169828)

First post! Goatse.cx! GNAA!

Anyone who browsed the site at -1 in it's heyday cannot dispute the claim "crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden."

Take a bow, boys.

And no, the irony of this post is not lost on me.

Example: (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169840)

Does not!

We'll see if this works...

Re:Example: (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170192)

Does too...wait, no, you're probably right.

Re:Example: (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171860)

DOES TOO! DOES TOO!

{experiment continues}

censory deception makes it reign fear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169868)

still waiting? more stand-up talknician routines. more threatening now? will the FSF guys be arrested for sex crimes too? julians, adrians, everybody's at risk, of being arrested, or worse. scary? 13 year old tagged by ss.gov at school for unapproved tweeting. so we're safe from him now. the key to the bells & whistles of just one city is way too much trust to put in one human. our/our planet's fate however, is different?

same old; how many 1000 babys going up in smoke again today? how many 1000's of just folks to be killed or displaced again today? hard to put $$ on that. the cost of constant deception, to our spirit? paying to have ourselves constantly spied on & lied to by freaky self chosen neogod depopulationers? the biblically styled fatal distraction holycost is all encompassing, & never ends while we're still alive, unless we cut them/ourselves off at the wmd. good luck with that, as it's not even a topic anywhere we get to see, although in real life it's happening everywhere as our walking dead weapons peddlers are being uncontracted. you can call this weather if it makes you feel any better. no? read the teepeeleaks etchings.

so, once one lie is 'infactated', the rest becomes just more errant fatal history.

disarm. tell the truth. the sky is not ours to toy with after all?

  you call this 'weather'? what with real history racing up to correct
itself, while the chosen one's holycostal life0cider mediots continually
attempt to rewrite it, fortunately, there's still only one version of the
truth, & it's usually not a long story, or a confusing multiple choice
fear raising event.

wouldn't this be a great time to investigate the genuine native elders social & political leadership initiative, which includes genuine history as put forth in the teepeeleaks etchings. the natives still have no words in their language to describe the events following their 'discovery' by us, way back when. they do advise that it's happening again.

who has all the weapons? who is doing MOST of the damage? what are the motives? are our intentions & will as the ones who are supposed to be being represented honestly & accurately, being met? we have no reference to there being ANY public approval for the current mayhem & madness pr firm regime style self chosen neogod rulership we've allowed to develop around us, so we wouldn't have to stop having fun, & doing things that have nothing to do with having to defend from the smoke&mirrors domestic frenetics, of the unproven genocides. rockets exploding in syria fired from Libya? yikes?

  the zeus weather weapon is still being used indiscriminately against the population, our rulers' minions are fleeing under fire.

the whore of babylon has been rescued by the native elders. she has the papers of challenge authored by the hymenical council, & is cooperating wholeheartedly with the disarmament mandate.
disarm. thank you.

censorship, or convenience?
Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment
posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post.
However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege
could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in
the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone
else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is bogus, you are right moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, (which have been maliciously edited from time to time for effect by /.censory)
which are always changing, you butthead

That is why we have stupid political parties. (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169894)

While most problems today are complex. We still try to cling to the groups ideology to try to solve the problem vs. realizing the ideology isn't the solution just a start of an approach which needs modifications. However political parties leader will not waver too far off their ideology core as the group in the hole still follows that ideology.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169958)

Could this help explain some of the wildly wrong beliefs some folks have today? So so blinded by Limbaugh or their Reverend or whoever and their opinion carries SO much weight that you can't get them to accept proof?

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170074)

Swings both ways, Micky.

I have just as much trouble trying to convince Obama supporters that Obama isn't a very good liberal as I did convincing Bush supporters that he wasn't a very good fiscal conservative.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170150)

I wasn't very clear in the post... I am more interested in why people believe in things that are *factually* wrong where there is plenty of evidence that it is factually wrong. Such as the "Obama is a Muslim" thing. I am not talking about conspiracy theory of people believing he is a "secret Muslim," more like people taking it as a fact. I have a tad little more sympathy for those that believed there was evidence that he wasn't born a U.S. citizen. There's other examples and, sorry conservatives, they tend to be on your side. You can say what you want about "libs," but they do at least try to be factual in larger percentage than some conservatives.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170274)

A+ then for the article then. "Although groups are initially “wise,” knowledge about estimates of others narrows the diversity of opinions to such an extent that it undermines the wisdom of crowd effect..."

Liberals are smart, conservatives are stupid... that's what everyone I know says.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (1, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170306)

By the Muslim definition of 'Muslim' Obama is an Apostate Muslim.

According to Muslim tradition a person is a Muslim if their father is a Muslim or if they ever repeat the 'call to prayer' (which is apparently a 'profession of faith'.)

Obama meets both these criteria.

Of course in the rest of the world, where we get to pick our own religion, he is non practicing Christian.

Some examples of things liberals continue to believe that are factually incorrect: Nazi's where capitalists, blankets can be 'infected with smallpox', FDR shortened the great depression, GWB was a deserter, Bill Clinton respects women.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171076)

Not really intending to troll, but what makes you think that GWB was not a deserter? The investigation where they found a half dozen questionable documents, then decided to ignore the other several thousand documents that show he is? Thank you again Faux News.

I seem to remember that Obama goes to church more reguarly than GWB, so what makes him a non practicing Christian? The fact that he doesn't follow the Evangelical BS? I don't want a leader that wears his religion on his shirt, then doesn't practice what he preaches, or for that matter have him try and shove his beliefs down my throat.

Being an Apostate Muslim does not make him a Muslim. I seem to recall that accepting Christ makes you a Christian, which means you are no longer a Muslim no matter what some other religion may call it.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170084)

As we all know, NPR listeners and NY Times readers all come to their conclusions based on reasoned consideration of all the facts. No herd mentality there. Not like those Limbaugh listeners and Bible-thumpers.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170284)

If you are trying to compare the factual accuracy of statements made by Rush Limbaugh or the Bible vs the New York Times or NPR you lost your argument before it started...

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170300)

I take it you haven't actually listened to NPR, like, ever. Unlike Limbaugh, Beck and O'Reilly, you do actually get multiple sides to the things they cover. There's a few exceptions here and there, but by and large it's pretty fair to the issues.

I take it you have yet to realize that reality has a liberal bias to it, a group that wants to take us to a future which will likely never exist is better than a group that wants to take us back to a reality which definitely never existed.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0, Troll)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170430)

I take it you have yet to realize that reality has a liberal bias to it

Said the liberal. That's the thing about your personal bias -- it is biased toward your personal beliefs.

Non-liberals don't have the same liberal biased reality.

The main problem with most liberals is that they firmly believe their bias is the only one that is, or even can be, correct.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171154)

Non-liberals don't have the same liberal biased reality

I see what your problem is: you don't understand what "reality" is, what the word "reality" means, and how facts are different from opinions. I'm not really surprised; you're not really alone in that error.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171264)

You are correct that my bias is my bias. However, my bias is based on facts rather than opinions. I do change when something that I believe is shown to be incorrect. I do not change when someone tells me something false or misleading or half truth. It is very difficult to research something when I am getting garbage from one side or the other.

My political views have not changed that much over the last thirty years. Under Reagan, I was a conservative, now I am a liberal socialist. The country has gone so far right, that Reagan would be thrown out of the current party.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170050)

However political parties leader will not waver too far off their ideology core as the group in the hole still follows that ideology.

Occams razor says "divide and conqueror" makes more sense to explain why we have two political parties.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (3, Insightful)

marnues (906739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170510)

I do think this is why we have the _same_ two political parties.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (2)

Thoguth (203384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170930)

However political parties leader will not waver too far off their ideology core as the group in the hole still follows that ideology.

Occams razor says "divide and conqueror" makes more sense to explain why we have two political parties.

I disagree... you're assigning malicious intent to some unnamed entity and judging its motives. I think a much simpler explanation is the two-party system is simply emergent behavior from the U.S.'s winner-take-all system of electing representativess. In governments where the leaders are selected differently, you have different results.

Re:That is why we have stupid political parties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171120)

I'd like to commend you, good sir. I didn't even have to go half a page down the comments before some hotheaded wanker with an agenda had to turn this into his own personal them-vs-us political bitchfest. We're making progress in this country, to be sure! Kudos to you!

Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169900)

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden.

Nonsense. Opinions do *not* need to be hidden, opinions are one source of information. What needs to be suppressed are cliques, groupthink, etc.

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is considered but not blindly followed, where individuals think for themselves.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169982)

The brain isn't designed to think independent of context. It's built to be part of a social system. Yes, people need to think for themselves, but to mandate that requires us to break the architecture of our minds. It can't work as the primary solution. Indeed, this current study only shows that what used to be two points ("mob thinking" and "collective intelligence") are just two points on an entire continuum. The problem is that humanity prefers to slide to the lower end of the spectrum rather than rise to its potential. THAT is what you need to solve. The details of who thinks and how then become incidental. Mere implementation details.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170134)

The brain isn't designed to think independent of context. It's built to be part of a social system.

Please, stop using words like "designed" and "built" in reference to the human brain.

It evolved, it exists ... it's not something which was created by a specific actor according to a spec.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170340)

It is specified in a blueprint (the nucleic DNA and the epigenome), designed by evolution and built by Von Neumann machines which constitute your actors. Von Neumann demonstrated, via cellular automata, that the actor and blueprint could be contained within a single entity. I pity those who are 60-70 years behind on mathematics, but it really isn't my problem.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171538)

The brain isn't designed to think independent of context. It's built to be part of a social system.

Please, stop using words like "designed" and "built" in reference to the human brain.

It evolved, it exists ... it's not something which was created by a specific actor according to a spec.

Thank you for a refreshing reply, the above seems to believe in "Intelligent Design"
Of course it isn't the result of design, it is truly another (Albeit amazing) organ which
has just evolved with no specific purpose other than to control the other organs
functioning and make sense of our surroundings in order to survive.

Whether capable of thinking intelligently or not by itself with or without the influence of
the crowd effect I guess is a question for scientists and physiologists to ponder.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170254)

The brain isn't designed to think independent of context. It's built to be part of a social system. Yes, people need to think for themselves, but to mandate that requires us to break the architecture of our minds.

It requires a strong cognitive effort, anyway. Going along with the crowd is the default.

I think that most intelligent people can at least be trained to think for themselves. People who are trained as scientists or lawyers often go against the consensus -- they're trained to go against the consensus and often rewarded for doing so.

Going against the crowd probably goes against evolutionary fitness most of the time, but once in the while it has a big payoff.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170612)

Going against the crowd probably goes against evolutionary fitness most of the time, but once in the while it has a big payoff.

The buffalo that gets out of the way of the stampede is the only one that lives.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36172010)

The buffalo that cuts itself out of the stampede is the only one the feeds the wolves.

If stampeding was such a bad survival tactic, why has it persisted? And by "survival tactic", I mean at the level of the individual organism, as well as the group and species level. As long as Billy Buffalo keeps his head down, his mouth shut, and his feet churning in the same direction as the entire rest of the herd, he'll be fine.

Which is, quite possibly, why human socialization also strongly encourages conformal and consensus-seeking behavior.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36172104)

Which is, quite possibly, why human socialization also strongly encourages conformal and consensus-seeking behavior.

And, apparently, autocratic governments. Human socialization is extraordinarily complex. To cite it in terms of a herd of animals is extremely disingenuous.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170376)

The brain isn't designed to think independent of context. It's built to be part of a social system. Yes, people need to think for themselves, but to mandate that requires us to break the architecture of our minds. It can't work as the primary solution.

Context and group think are two different things. Context can work against emotion and in favor of reason. It helps judge the credibility of opinions.

A social system and group think are two different things. A social system may have more to do with accepting a decision once one is made, and not so much to do with the decision making process and debate that led to the decision.

You seem to be confusing the decision making process and following the decision once it is made. We may be wired to follow the decision, to stay with the group rather than strike out on our own, however that does not mean that independent thought was not part of the decision making process.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170078)

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is considered but not blindly followed, where individuals think for themselves.

and a culture / society where that is not strongly discouraged from youth onward. In other words forget the US, but it might work in other areas, maybe.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170330)

The problem is that most people can't tell the difference between an opinion and a fact. Even if the fact is wrong, they still can't distinguish that from an opinion.

You frequently see people complaining about "Obamacare" that's an incorrect fact, the actual meat and potatoes of the health care package was lifted from various conservative politicians, it only became "Obamacare" when they decided that they needed to stymy the President. All of the actual controversial aspects had been proposed by various conservative politicians.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170528)

The problem is that most people can't tell the difference between an opinion and a fact. Even if the fact is wrong, they still can't distinguish that from an opinion.

You frequently see people complaining about "Obamacare" that's an incorrect fact, the actual meat and potatoes of the health care package was lifted from various conservative politicians, it only became "Obamacare" when they decided that they needed to stymy the President. All of the actual controversial aspects had been proposed by various conservative politicians.

Congratulations, you have proved your own point regarding facts and opinions being confused. ;-) What you present as a fact is in reality an opinion. Another opinion is that it became "Obamacare" when it was done on a national scale rather than at a local level, that a unique characteristic of the Obama approach is a nationwide one-size-fits-all approach. Which of these opinions is more correct is irrelevant, both are opinions, neither are facts.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170350)

I didn't read the article, buuuut ;) I imagine the tests being like the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire ask the audience deal. When you ask everyone to vote without seeing the opinion of others, you'd be more likely to get the correct answer. Some people know then answer, but others are unsure. If they see the results of those who are just plain wrong before they see the results from those who know the answer, they might be tempted to vote against their initial correct, but unsure, guess.

I'm not so sure that something so subjective and broad as politics can be tested in this manner, because the "right" answer is not clear (I'm sure there are many workable solutions to a lot of social/government issues). This social opinion thing is obviously very important for sporting, political and religious groupthink too though.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170734)

I didn't read the article, buuuut ;) I imagine the tests being like the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire ask the audience deal. When you ask everyone to vote without seeing the opinion of others, you'd be more likely to get the correct answer.

A classic experiment used to study group decision making is a variant of the knapsack problem [wikipedia.org] . A common scenario is that the group are survivors of a plane crash and they may have to hike out. They have more resources than they can carry, they have to prioritize items and only take a subset. Before discussions begin individuals are asked to rank the items on their own. Next discussion begin, opinions are offered, and the group comes to a consensus regarding the ranking of items. The rankings are then scored and the group score is typically better than nearly all individual scores. It is common for the group to outperform experts.

In short, listening to a wide variety of opinions can lead to better results than merely listening to an expert. Think of it as the expert being double checked or enhanced by bits of info from the group.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170488)

where individuals think for themselves.

If you say so.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (4, Informative)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170568)

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden.

Nonsense. Opinions do *not* need to be hidden, opinions are one source of information. What needs to be suppressed are cliques, groupthink, etc. In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is considered but not blindly followed, where individuals think for themselves.

In other words it almost always only works when the opinions of others are hidden. Those cases of groups of tough-minded independent thinkers being vanishingly rare.

Even among seasoned experts overcoming the effects of groupthink requires special measures. Consider the "Delphi Technique" developed at RAND - where the experts pool their knowledge in multiple rounds anonymously.

Declaring that people can avoid this by "just thinking for themselves" is akin to decreeing quality control by asserting "just don't make mistakes". It ignores the manifest reality of human existence in favor of idealized pip-dreams.

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171010)

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden.

Nonsense. Opinions do *not* need to be hidden, opinions are one source of information. What needs to be suppressed are cliques, groupthink, etc. In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is considered but not blindly followed, where individuals think for themselves.

In other words it almost always only works when the opinions of others are hidden.

No. To avoid redundancy read this respose: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2167128&cid=36170734 [slashdot.org] .

Those cases of groups of tough-minded independent thinkers being vanishingly rare.

Tough mindedness is not required. I've seen the previously mentioned experiment performed on groups that included people ranging from the more aggressive to the more passive.

Even among seasoned experts overcoming the effects of groupthink requires special measures. Consider the "Delphi Technique" developed at RAND - where the experts pool their knowledge in multiple rounds anonymously.

You misrepresent the delphi technique. They key is not anonymity. They key is that answers to questions and comments on these answers are processed and filtered. They key is structured information, not anonymous information.

In the spirit of the delphi technique the remainder of your post was discarded as irrelevant speculation. ;-)

Re:Opinions do *not* need to be hidden (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171386)

It doesn't mean hidden in that way. It means hidden before the results come through, and then everyone can help themselves to everyone else's opinion afterwards.

Justin Beiber explained (1, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169912)

No wonder so many people like this talentless little sh--head.

Re:Justin Beiber explained (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170158)

I'm not sure this study focussed on 9-14 year old girls. But if it did, maybe we need to have a talk with its parents.

Re:Justin Beiber explained (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171002)

And you're a dickhead. He's just a kid.

Maybe democracy would work better... (5, Interesting)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169922)

Interesting. Maybe democracy would work better if we didn't know the opinions of others, have poll data, or hear media commentary other than candidates speaking and their records...

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (4, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170002)

One election cycle I was only watching C-SPAN for coverage. It was amazing how differently I was thinking from everyone else. When I would change to CNN to a quick look the would be talking "strategy" or have "experts" talking out of the butt as usual and it was TOTALLY different from what I was thinking and the questions that came up in my mind. The media and these "experts" aren't called "opinion leaders" for nothing.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (3, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170172)

There's no money in opinion. There's plenty in spin.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (5, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170298)

This is exactly what happened with George W. Bush's felony wiretapping crimes. The clear fact was that he and his administration, through the NSA's new wiretapping programs, committed multiple wiretapping felonies, each punishable by law by up to five years in prison. Instead of reporting this inconvenient fact, the news "experts" focused on "strategy"--is it a good strategy for Democrats to hold the president to inconvenient standards like the law, when it might make them look weak on security? And somehow this massive crime was talked down into a non-issue, quietly pushed out of the scene, and when people had forgotten about it, swept under the rug by most everyone in power with retroactive immunities.

I think (hope?) that without the "opinion leaders" the outcome would have been very different.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (1)

bobaferret (513897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170440)

Isn't this why we try to have juries that have no existing opinion on the case, and one of the reasons we keep the sequestered.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170194)

Maybe why we were given a Republic by the Founders...if we could keep it.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170248)

Interesting. Maybe democracy would work better if we didn't know the opinions of others, have poll data, or hear media commentary other than candidates speaking and their records...

Which is precisely why the US was set up as a democratic republic, and not a true democracy. The founding fathers realized the flaws in groupthink and mob mentality.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (2)

JackDW (904211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170260)

Doubtful, because even if opinions of others are hidden, the crowd is still only good at solving problems that most of the individuals within it (1) understand, and (2) can actually solve.

Crowdsourcing works well if the point is to find the most popular answer. However, it is almost useless as a way to find the correct answer. It will only do so if the correct answer is really, really obvious.

Ever see the game show "Who wants to be a millionaire?" If the contestant gets a difficult question, he/she can "Ask the audience", who then vote for the answer they think is right. This works well for questions about pop music and sport. It doesn't work so well for questions about history or particle physics, where people appear to vote randomly. If there are a few actual experts in the audience, their votes are still drowned out by the (random) votes of the masses. It is bad strategy to use "Ask the audience" on such questions, because the game is not "Family Feud". The point is not to find the most popular answer, but the correct one.

At some point in the future, humanity will look back on the present and ask how we ever expected democracy to work.

Re:Maybe democracy would work better... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170352)

Don't forget abolish political parties... party affiliation alone is enough to make the decision for a many voters.

avoid the propagandick hypenosys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169924)

think for yourself.

The most important take away from this (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169938)

The most important take away from this is that polls are a bad idea This study suggests to me that the aggressive reporting on the results of polls related to upcoming elections explains why the quality of our leading politicians has been declining over the last several decades.

Re:The most important take away from this (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170018)

Fire Wolf Blitzer!

Re:The most important take away from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170156)

Only if it's from a cannon.

Simplistic roll ups cause stupdity (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169980)

I believe that society fails when context is taken to the extreme and not countered or debated. When a one sided argument is presented and no one is allowed to counter that argument, it inevitably causes ignorance.
Examples are all over our society, such as these recent examples. "Creationism" issue, what is "Fox News", and what happened during the Bush Jr era presidency. Jon Stewart had an issue just last week with Fox News presentation of a rapper and Fox News's inability to maintain a "status quo" in their arguments.
So, when it comes to social influence, if one were to put themselves in a bubble, such as Facebook can, and online games allow due to heavy handed administrators, then yes... ignorance can perpetuate itself.

Of course the counter to this is "trolls", those that make obviously inflamatory or ignorant counter arguments that defy belief and logic. But the reality is that some trolls are "for real" in their thinking. Is it really that far fetched to believe that some people in this world have no logical function what-so-ever? The proof is all around you.

So, of course, because of this conundrum that they present, we shield ourselves from others opinions and call them trolls.

Free flow of ideas was the internet, and never will be again.

Re:Simplistic roll ups cause stupdity (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170460)

A more scary thought is :What if the trolls actually 100% believed in what they post?

An even more scary thought is: What if the trolls are right about some things?

Remember that even a broken Grandfather Clock is right twice a day. Somedays even I am not right twice that day. In some circumstances it is the troll that is right and we are wrong.


Nahhhh... That cannot be right.

Re:Simplistic roll ups cause stupdity (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170936)

That was where I was going with some of my post.
I have been called a troll for something I knew was correct and I had no idea why.
But yeah, it is possible an opinion may be more correct than others. The problem is we have an inability on the internet to patiently think about and articulate our thoughts as to how we came to our conclusion.
Or, those that actually do, are met with "TLDR" or ignorant puns and jackassery.

Mob/herd mentality (3, Informative)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169998)

It's quite a familiar concept, has it just been re-labeled [wikipedia.org] ?

Herd mentality implies a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in order to avoid feeling "left behind" from the group.

Qualified as "fear-based" and a "reaction to peer pressure" already implies a negative force. It's always nice to have studies to back it up though.

Re:Mob/herd mentality (1)

SpanglerIsAGod (2052716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171434)

Herd mentality doesn't always have to be bad either. If a source of water is known to be bad Herd mentality can keep the majority from becoming sick by pressuring group members not to drink from it. Or, for a more modern reference, Herd mentality can push the majority of individuals to bath regularly which is a benefit to everyone.

Politics, religion (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170026)

The basis for most of what is believed in both realms.

My complaint about The Wisdom Of Crowds (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170036)

Some of my colleagues recommended that I write a letter about how The Wisdom Of Crowds provides simplistic answers to complex problems. This is that letter. With this letter, I hope to help people break free of The Wisdom Of Crowds's cycle of oppression. But first, I would like to make the following introductory remark: The Wisdom Of Crowds likes thinking thoughts that aren't burdensome and that feel good. That's why it has always promoted the trendiest causes, the causes that all of the important people promote. But you knew that already. So let me add that sometime in the future it will feed information from sources inside the government to organizations with particularly deceitful agendas. Fortunately, that hasn't happened...yet. But it will decidedly happen if we don't improve the lot of humankind.

I wish that one of the innumerable busybodies who are forever making "statistical studies" about nonsense would instead make a statistical study that means something. For example, I'd like to see a statistical study of The Wisdom Of Crowds's capacity to learn the obvious. Also worthwhile would be a statistical study of how many infantile, libidinous rabble-rousers realize that The Wisdom Of Crowds likes to imply that it has mystical powers of divination and prophecy. This is what its quips amount to, although, of course, they're daubed over with the viscid slobber of narrow-minded drivel devised by its worshippers and mindlessly multiplied by unforgiving weasels. Other than that, The Wisdom Of Crowds has a vested interest in maintaining the myths that keep its polity loyal to it. Its principal myth is that power, politics, and privilege should prevail over the rule of law. The truth is that unless you define success using the sort of loosey-goosey standards by which The Wisdom Of Crowds abides you'll realize that true measures of success involve raising the quality of debate on issues surrounding The Wisdom Of Crowds's rummy expostulations. Success is getting the world to see that to someone whose eyes are open, The Wisdom Of Crowds's constantly repeated mantra that its complaints can give us deeper insights into the nature of reality is an insanely foul notion. By way of contrast, consider my personal mantra that if you don't think that The Wisdom Of Crowds exhibits a perverse talent for getting viscerally angry and staying angry long enough to subjugate persons of culture, refinement, and learning to abusive scalawags, then you've missed the whole point of this letter.

It has been proven time and time again that The Wisdom Of Crowds and I are as different as chalk and cheese. It, for instance, wants to prime the pump of sexism. I, on the other hand, want to look at our situation realistically and from a viewpoint that takes in the whole picture. That's why I need to tell you that I am sick of hearing it intone with an authority reminiscent of Moses descending Sinai that its sermons enhance performance standards, productivity, and competitiveness. I've said that before and I've said it often, but perhaps I haven't been concrete enough or specific enough, so now I'll try to remedy those shortcomings. I'll try to be a lot more specific and concrete when I explain that this is a lesson for those with eyes to see. It is a lesson not so much about its obdurate behavior but about the way that the next time it decides to turn a deaf ear to need and suffering, it should think to itself, cui bono?â"who benefits?

Over the years, I've enjoyed a number of genuinely pleasurable (and pleasurably genuine) conversations with a variety of people who understand that The Wisdom Of Crowds defines "truth" as "whatever promotes parasitism". In one such conversation, someone pointed out to me that I realize that some people may have trouble reading this letter. Granted, not everyone knows what "galvanocontractility" means, but it's nevertheless easy to understand that the unalterable law of biology has a corollary that is generally overlooked. Specifically, The Wisdom Of Crowds once said that we should cast our lots with frowsy dolts. Oh, please. I'm just glad I hadn't eaten dinner right before I heard it say that. Otherwise, I'd probably still be vomiting too hard to tell you that The Wisdom Of Crowds's prognoses are geared toward the continuation of social stratification under the rubric of "tradition". Funny, that was the same term that its goombahs once used to capitalize on our needs and vulnerabilities.

With this in mind, I must instill a sense of responsibility and maturity in those who transform our whole society to suit The Wisdom Of Crowds's own amoral interests. The Wisdom Of Crowds has produced a large number of unctuous, untrustworthy rejoinders. I'm sorry that I can't give each of these the angry retort that it deserves, but I can say that if you study The Wisdom Of Crowds's bilious jeremiads long enough, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that all of its encomiasts are thievesâ"idle, envious, and ready to plunder and enslave their weaker neighbors. It's therefore not surprising that The Wisdom Of Crowds thinks it would be a great idea to expand, augment, and intensify the size and intrusiveness of its negativism movement. Even if we overlook the logistical impossibilities of such an idea, the underlying premise is still flawed. When I look back I think, "The Wisdom Of Crowds is filled with unrighteousness, wickedness, and maliciousness." The Wisdom Of Crowds says that its faith in antiheroism gives it an uncanny ability to detect astral energy and cosmic vibrations. Such verbal gems teach us that I can doubtlessly suggest how The Wisdom Of Crowds ought to behave. Ultimately, however, the burden of acting with moral rectitude lies with The Wisdom Of Crowds itself.

Given a choice of having The Wisdom Of Crowds silence anyone whom it considers muzzy-headed or having my bicuspids extracted sans Novocaine, I myself would embrace the pliers, purchase some Polident Partials, and call it a day. We have a choice. Either we let ourselves be led like lambs to the slaughter by The Wisdom Of Crowds and its flacks or we halt the destructive process that is carrying our civilization toward extinction. While I don't expect you to have much trouble making up your mind you should nevertheless consider that I would never take a job working for The Wisdom Of Crowds. Given its snooty codices, who would want to?

Is it important that The Wisdom Of Crowds cotton to anti-intellectualism? Of course it's important. But what's more important is that pathological, raffish blusterers serve as the priests in its cult of meretricious egotism. These "priests" spend their days basking in The Wisdom Of Crowds's reflected glory, pausing only when The Wisdom Of Crowds instructs them to sugarcoat the past and dispense false optimism for the future. What could be more iconoclastic? I once asked The Wisdom Of Crowds that questionâ"I am still waiting for an answer. In the meantime, let me point out that a central fault line runs through each of The Wisdom Of Crowds's ideologies. Specifically, The Wisdom Of Crowds's behavior might be different if it were told that it indubitably needs to come to terms with its flighty past. Of course, as far as The Wisdom Of Crowds is concerned, this fact will fall into the category of, "My mind is made up; don't confuse me with the facts." That's why I'm telling you that if it honestly believes that some of my points are not valid, I would love to get some specific feedback from it.

The Wisdom Of Crowds does, occasionally, make a valid point. But when it says that if it kicks us in the teeth we'll then lick its toes and beg for another kick, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins. Yes, The Wisdom Of Crowds's projects are a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia, but here is the point that is worth considering: Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave with his eyes shut and his ears plugged knows that I should note that it has been trying for some time to convince people that the Universe belongs to it by right. Don't believe its hype! The Wisdom Of Crowds has just been offering that line as a means to regiment the public mind as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.

There is absolutely nothing that headstrong, sniffish four-flushers like The Wisdom Of Crowds will not do to destroy their opponents. They will poke into the most secret family affairs and not rest until their truffle-searching instinct digs up some aberrant incident that is calculated to finish off their unfortunate victim. Let me move now from the abstract to the concrete. That is, let me give you a (mercifully) few examples of The Wisdom Of Crowds's outrageous ineptitude. For starters, it says that anyone who resists it deserves to be crushed. You know, it can lie as much as it wants but it can't change the facts. If it could, it'd truly prevent anyone from hearing that I am not particularly fond of it. An equal but opposite observation is that I am entirely shocked and angered by its predaceous, philistinism-prone improprieties. Such shameful conduct should never be repeated.

The Wisdom Of Crowds's cohorts have learned their scripts well and the rhetoric comes gushing forth with little provocation. As if you didn't know, The Wisdom Of Crowds keeps saying that honesty and responsibility have no cash value and are therefore worthless. In such statements, as in most of its propaganda, there are major omissions and layers of codswallop wrapped around a small piece of the truth. The real story is that The Wisdom Of Crowds's conjectures are not pedantic treatises expressing theories or extravaganzas dealing in fables or fancies. They are substantial, sober outpourings from the very soul of paternalism. My goal for this letter was to do something good for others. Know that I have done my best while trying always to avoid the extremes of a pessimistic naturalism and an optimistic humanism by combining the truths of both. Let an honest history judge.

right to remain silent useless, fatal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170104)

after the weapons are collectded & recycled into being useful stuff, there well could be music in the air at all times, if we want that.

One of you has a signature of truth... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170154)

...that says something like "Persons are smart individually, but people are dumb." I didn't need a scientific study to reveal that factoid to me.

"In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden." Hell yeah, that's why bad comments get moderated up, but moderating down Goatse posts works brilliantly!

Mrs. Banks was right. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170166)

"Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.”
Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins

you can say what you want about the mob (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170178)

but more dangerous is a self-selecting subgroup who believes they know better than anyone else, and based on that, feel they have a right to impose their "wisdom" on everyone else. no, i'm not talking about math or hard science, i'm talking soft sciences or ideology. education isn't a protection, as "education" is often just indoctrination into a set of assumptions that cannot be doubted on fear of banishment from the group

so i cast my lot with the wisdom of the mob. i don't trust the mob, but at least its allegiances are simple and easy to discern. in other words, yes, the mob is dumb, but the mob is also honest. so-called experts meanwhile are more often just ideologues with a political agenda to promote

Re:you can say what you want about the mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171112)

Have to agree. I hasten to add that "math and hard science" was quick to dismiss the rest as unredeemable. This has had the perverse effect of exaggerating the "dumb" disadvantage at the expense of the "honest" advantage.

The "Economic Man" is a Religion unto himself. Bit of an ahole too.

The Filter Bubble (2)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170202)

Please watch Eli Pariser's talk at TED about Filter Bubbles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbi2i_Y7gSE [youtube.com] The "wisdom" of the crowds is "managed" via cherry picked search results, etc;

reminds me of middle school (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170216)

somehow a debate came up about whether cats eyes glow in the dark or are highly reflective, making them appear to glow in the dark in low light situations. The teacher honestly did not know the answer (facepalm) and asked the class to vote on it. It was almost unanimous that they did in fact glow in the dark, aside from me and one other poor soul. I remember that day very vividly. It was the day I realized people are dumb and a general consensus means NOTHING in terms of accuracy.

Illustration of Social Media Rise/Fall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170224)

This article shows that social media news aggregation sites that use crowd voting will constantly rise and then fall. Digg was a cool site that had tech oriented news. It became popular and then the diversity crowded out the reason what made digg cool.(Intelligent sci/tech oriented news) This led to its downfall. Reddit steps into the scene with the same sci/tech oriented aggregation. Masses came and the intelligence of it dropped. Hacker news springs up and has remained less popular and thus more "intelligent".

Their downfalls can also be attributed to other factors like the 'gaming' of the system. This will always happen whenever there is a large enough of an audience and there is a dollar to be made.

Why has /. maintained such high caliber sci/tech news? Editorialization. By users not seeing the dumbass submissions of everyone else; a proper decorum can be held amongst the users.

We're supposed to be smart kids, but collectively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170234)

This was a favorite quote of mine from a fraternity I attended at an engineering school. "We're supposed to be smart kids, but collectively, we're dumb as fuck."

www.awkwardengineer.com

It's a misunderstanding of democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170262)

Democratic groups deciding something is more akin to what army do I join not what's correct and will work best. People simply select the group they think they will do best in or the group they think will win. So it's not really surprising that democracy is really bad at getting good results.

Evolution in action, the fittest survive... (1)

itranspire (1852960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170328)

The fittest are not necessarily the smartest? The dummer the person, the higher the psychological resilience, the more numerous the offspring.... :D it seems joining the crowd in undermining the wisdom could be the better survival strategy from evolutionary perspective :D...

Re:Evolution in action, the fittest survive... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171230)

It's not really a matter of smart or dumb, its a matter of how well you socialize. If you are able to hook into society and thereby be able to make use of its resources better than the other guy, you will be more successful. That does mean people who are less intelligent overall, but have high social skills, can get much farther because social structure provides a huge benefit or multiplier. They can find people to do things for them or call on them for aid.

A very, very smart person who cannot use the social structure as well is deprived of an important infrastructure which they will not be able to replicate themselves because it is the product of many, many people. Their best bet is to use what social skills they do have an befriend people who have certain social skills above their own level.

A person is smart. People are ... (1)

nevermore94 (789194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170438)

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals.
- K

we needed a study for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170686)

Canadians collectively reelected harper - with a majority.

Psychology 101 anyone? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170812)

I'm confused, how is this new? I know that recent years have found ways in which crowds can sometimes be intelligent, but every first-year psych course begins by explaining how dumb ther are, and the seven reasons why. This is yet another observation done by a team who never cared to consider research already done and considered common sense.

How boring.

Just breaking news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170892)

People are dumb (all of us in some regards including myself). A crowd of peoples even dumber as it panders to the lowest common denominator.

Okay where do I apply for a research grant?

trolls? (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170918)

sounds like they had a few trolls in their study. there's nothing better than having to debate common sense and logic with someone....

I Knew That Years Back... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171040)

...Terry Pratchett told me. In several of the Discworld books, he has stated the the intelligence of a mob equals the intelligence of the stupidest member divided by the number of people in the mob.

Sounds about right.

"Wisdom" of crowds easily subverted (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171046)

The most common way is for crowd members to transmit and receive most information from each other, instead of all doing their own research. This tends to amplify distortion (Remember the "telephone" game from your childhood). When intra-crowd communication is minimized, the crowd again becomes accurate.

This principle can be demonstrated by blogs that repeat stories from blogs that repeat stories from blogs.... Copy and paste, oddly enough, serves to minimize some of the distortion effects, however, additional commentary that accretes around the original story with each telling inevitably creates more distortion.

Another distortion is the "Fox News" effect, where erroneous information is repeated endlessly to a large portion of the crowd. Repeated enough times, this method too distorts the information picture by adding single-source bias. FYI, this happens with all MSM media outlets. Fox News is just the most obvious example.

So the wisdom of crowds exists and is useful, but the internet has provided a friction free means by which it can be distorted and become useless, or worse.

Social comformity, social catastrophe (1)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171252)

This is the age-old problem with democracies: What to do when the majority is wrong? This can easily happen when even the "smartiest" are ill informed, or influenced by advertising, or don't care -- and now it seems that the more people share their thoughts and ideas, the less likely it is that those ideas are optimal. It seems like we are trading critical thinking for a feeling of belonging.

I had a go at this! (1)

Whiternoise (1408981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171292)

I actually had a go at this a while ago. Orange UK ran a competition where you had to guess the amount of money (single denomination coins) in a tube. People were allowed one guess a day, to be posted on the relevant Twitted feed with a certain hashtag. The correct guess, or the closest to it after a number of days won the contents of the tube. The amount was somewhere in the hundreds of pounds.

I tried two main methods to this, the first was to make an educated guess. Certain clues like the height of the tube (including base), etc were given so it was fairly easy to guess it was a standard 2m acrylic tube. The diameter was guessed based on the high res picture they gave - again, standard diamater found by Google. Packing efficiency I had to do manually with a glass and £30 worth of ten pence coins from the bank which got a ballpark estimate of £460.

Secondly I devised a way to farm people's guesses and then base a more educated guess from what they were saying. I wrote the script in PHP, automated with jQuery, running on a virtual server on my laptop which parsed the RSS feed of that hashtag, extracted each guess and stored them in a database with the timestamp so things weren't collected twice. A quick and dirty page worked out and displayed a number of averages and so on. I had a number of friends who were each given a guess by me to post each day; I offered a small fraction of the bounty, you understand. After I located where I thought the average was, I worked out where to guess (either side of other people) such that if the total was within a certain range, we would definitely win. The strategy was to pick prices spiralling outwards from the chosen average, so that over time the range stayed continuous, but increased steadily. Obviously some guesses were made filling in gaps where other annoying members of the public had chosen!

The results were pretty interesting. People guessed over an extremely wide spread, guesses ranging from the thousands to the hundreds. Each day a new clue was given, including two clues that provided upper and lower bounds on the total. These were the results:

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/2407/screenshot20110518at220.png, x-axis is # guesses, y-axis is in pounds. Error bars were estimated (not sure why they're on there tbh), the blue line is the simple average and the black line is a moving average of 10 guesses. Removed are guesses that were clearly mistakes, £2221 reposted as £222.1 for instance and duplicate guesses.

Average (all): £480.22
Average (£0-755.40): £406.12
Average (£100-755.40, narrowing averaging range to known limits): £419.18

So, going on that, I'd covered between about £450 and £520. Unfortunately the actual result was £380 - bummer. The problem is, of course, knowing where to take your average. I'm not a statistician, and while I deal with a lot of statistical distribution, error analysis and confidence intervals, this isn't my strong point. I chose to discard stupid entries (in the thousands of pounds) and that predicted the result to within £20; this works to a point, but how far do you go, do you discard incorrect low prices too? Anecdotal evidence says you should go for a total average - hence my bets around £480.

As to crowd wisdom, it was interesting being able to see the guesses where they came in and also how varied they were. The standard dev was huge, so I didn't pay much notice to it - something like £300. Clearly some people were being influenced, and as clues were given the results changed accordingly. TFA seems accurate then, but it was an interesting experiment and I nearly won 400 quid from Orange!

WTF!? I'm calling previous art!! (1)

killfixx (148785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171294)

It's called the mob mentality. I read about it in 5th grade. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was an excellent book.

I'm going to see if I can get a grant to study "The Effects of Televised Sports as a Deterrent for Revolution". I just hope no one remembers anything before 1980 and I'll be all set.

*sigh*

Carl Gustav Jung said it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171368)

Carl Gustav Jung [wikipedia.org] said it long before. You might find his book, The Undiscovered Self [scribd.com] interesting.

Wired graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171384)

Could anyone explain the significance of this mysterious graph? http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2011/05/crowd_estimates1.jpg

It's from the Wired article.

Quoting Men in Black (?) (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171422)

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

Re:Quoting Men in Black (?) (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171710)

"The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. "

Old news (1)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36172494)

C'mon, nothing new about this study, the poster for it [thinkgeek.com] came out years and years ago. Move along.

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