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    feedwordpress 16:21:00 on 2017/04/16 Permalink
    Tags: bias, biases, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Scripts, Stories, Narratives, Filling in the Gaps without Resorting to Fake News and other Propaganda Techniques 

    I have recently been minding my gaping gap and just the other day I was talking with someone about filling in the gaps, so I’ve decided to give you all a what’s update (I’m thinking that could maybe catch on sometime as a new term, sort of like all gangsta ‘n’ neato).

    But before I get too far off track, let me mix it up a little with some additional nerdiness: let’s talk about facts! I know there are plenty of data scientists and data journalists who can’t seem to get enough data (like they hope when they die and go to heaven, they will be able to hook up with a lot of ones and zeroes). Me, I’m all about being discrete, but to be honest I think I would much rather get a little more abstract every now and then.

    First of all, there’s the starting point. Little did you know, but you are already past it. Then there’s the end point – and don’t worry: it’s coming up real soon. In between those two points, there are an infinite number of other points. Infinite means: “so much, that even a computer can’t figure it out” — a really bad translation might be something like: “nevermind“. OK, if that isn’t abstract enough for you yet, then get this: in between any two points (like even between any of the infinite number of points between the starting point and the end point) there are also an infinite number of points. I could keep going on like this, but I hope you get the point already (haha — get it? 😉 ).

    Right here I’m pretty much right in the middle of the story. Everything I write here is another point, and all of it could also be referred to as data. But of course there are also missing pieces — like I haven’t told you whether it’s daytime or nighttime, whether it’s cloudy, all sorts of stuff. There are actually humongous gaps, if you think about it. The funny thing is: it’s entirely up to you to fill them in.

    Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to make some assumptions. The sad truth is that you will never have all the data. Why? Well, consider this: even if you think you have pretty much all of the data, there will still be an infinite number of data points in between the two closest points of data in your collection.

    I know it’s a big pain, but you will simply have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps.

    But don’t fret — we haven’t reached the end yet. I still have something more to tell. It’s actually something like a piece of advice for how you could and should go about coming up with the missing puzzle pieces. Way back at the beginning I told you I was talking with someone just the other day, remember? We were talking about something called “confirmation bias” — this is when you fill in the missing pieces with something you already think is true (and therefore it confirms the truth of what you already think — see also this video for a really neato explanation of it with a bunch of examples, too).

    Now there are perhaps also an infinite number of ways that someone could fill in the missing gaps in a story. Let me give you an example. I often talk about “retard media“. When you read those two words, you probably think something like “what does he mean?” (if you follow the link, you will see that I wrote a whole article about what I mean when I use that phrase — but even that article also has an infinite number of gaps that need filling in) Let me simplify this. Let’s pretend there are basically only two interpretations: 1. I am a bad person; or 2. there is something else “out there” that is bad (I am using “bad” here because it seems that a lot of people feel that way about the word “retard”). To flesh out the details a little more, this “bad” might have something to do with attitude — like a condescending attitude (so in other words, you might attribute “condescending attitude” to me or to something else). Now I have written more and more details here, but in the end it is still up to you to fill in the missing pieces, to accommodate the new information with your already existing beliefs and so on.

    As you do this, your biases will influence you. Many people think that the more you are aware of your biases, the better will the accommodation process reflect the actual “facts“.

    That’s it for now (we’re getting very near the end). Have a pleasant day! 🙂

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    feedwordpress 09:47:24 on 2016/08/27 Permalink


    In a recent podcast episode, Eliza Rubin mentioned „voluntourism“ (see episode #28 for her explanation of the term). Here, I want to apply the concept to the web / internet / online space – so basically: virtual voluntourism.

    In my opinion, this is what happens when someone asks people to visit a particular web address to perform some kind of supposedly good deed. For example: „Visit itunes and rate this podcast“ or „Visit facebook and like our page“, or maybe „post a comment“, „send us an email“ or „follow me“ or whatever.

    I don’t need to visit google or gmail or whatever someone wants me to visit. If you like google or some other website, then that is perfectly fine with me – but don’t ask me to care about sites you seem to be fans of. You can be a fan of whatever site all you want, but don’t ask me to share your point of view. Anyway: If I were to do so because you asked me to, it would be meaningless.

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    feedwordpress 17:21:43 on 2016/08/12 Permalink

    Global Languages (and/or Classification Schemes) + Generic Top Level Domains (TLDs) 

    Whereas traditional classification schemes (such as the Dewey Decimal Classification [DDC] or the Library of Congress classification scheme [LC]) have primarily been oriented towards topical segmentation of publications published by individual persons or corporate entities, I feel it is now a pretty safe bet that the landscape of generic top-level domains is instead oriented towards segmenting information based on a palette of various communication types, in other words segments of interactions or engagement types used in the broader field of general communications. One might think of this as on par with the „speech act“ theories developed in the latter half of the 20th Century, though using the world-wide web the focus is not interpersonal communication, but rather open and public communications.

    Several years ago, I posted a „guesstimate“ of what com, net and org represent. Now I want to attempt to expand this to more / all generic domains. This is what I have so far:

    • com = commerce + commercials (ads + advertising)
    • net = networking
    • org = organizations (i.e. corporate entities – originally primarily „non-profit“)
    • info = reference, lookup services (e.g. publications created on behalf of communities or community services)
    • biz = small business
    • name = naming + classification (originally primarily personal brands)
    • tel = contact / directory
    • pro = paid / professional services

    Note the omission of „gov“ and „edu“ (and „travel“, „museum“, etc.) – this is not an oversight; I consider these „proprietary“ top level domains. Going forward, the vast majority of top-level domains will probably be proprietary. The number of generic top level domains may even be fixed from this point onwards, as this type of registry (i.e. „generic“ registries) is (are) apparently no longer being planned.

    However, the above list may in fact not be exhaustive. Likewise, the descriptions are highly speculative and should probably be considered more as „suggested“ rather than as descriptive or prescriptive.

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    feedwordpress 18:40:49 on 2016/07/26 Permalink

    Auctions + Markets for Domains, Domain Names + TLDs 

    Several years ago, one of my friends (who is not a „domainer“ per se) made a very insightful remark… – a remark that I have carried around with me ever since and also pondered over all this time (and indeed, I continue to do so).

    He noted that domain names are not interchangable the way uniform products are – you can’t replace one domain name with another one the way you can exchange one pair of jeans with another pair of jeans, one rubber duckie with another rubber duckie, one toaster with another toaster or one widget with another widget. Therefore, unlike the market prices we are all familiar with for one ounce of gold or one barrel of oil, domain names belong to an entirely different category of things. The are unique, much in the same way that a painting by Van Gogh or Rembrandt are unique. Just as it doesn’t make sense to switch out a painting made by Picasso with a crayon drawing made by the kid around the corner, you cannot simply exchange or replace health.com with movies.com (or even health.com with health.net, or movies.com with movies.net).

    This became vividly clear to me earlier today as I was writing a response to a question raised by Michael Berkens (see „Quick Poll How Much Will .Web Sell For In The ICANN Auction On July 27th ?“). There, the discussion had become focused on whether the new TLD „web“ is comparable to the generic TLD „net“. Michael did a „back of the envelope“ calculation to arrive at $500 million as the value of the „net“ registry. I agree with the logic of his argument, but the point I wish to make here is more related to something he included in his remark apparently by chance / in passing.

    He noted that the generic „net“ TLD does not offer so-called „premium“ domain names – in other words: that there is no price discrimination (i.e., that all domains are available at the same low price in a „one-size fits-all“ fashion). This is not a magnificent discovery, but I do feel it is something very noteworthy nonetheless. This is the way all generic TLD registries price domains, but it is a very rare (or even non-existent) pricing mechanism among the registry operators of the newer proprietary TLDs. Since the proprietors have such an strong inclination to engage in price discrimination, this might (or could) even be the defining characteristic of the difference between generic TLDs and proprietary TLDs: If there is no price discrimination, then the TLD can be called „generic“; If there is price discrimination, then the TLD should be called „proprietary“.

    Although the motivation to identify a TLD as proprietary originally stems from the sole proprietor’s own engagement in the associated market (consider, e.g., Amazon, Inc.’s engagement in the „book“ market, or Google Inc.’s engagement in the „app“ market, or even Procter & Gamble Inc.’s engagement in the „baby“ market), I feel this is an „easy to use“ metric that seems (to me) to be both valid and reliable in order to distinguish these two very significantly different types of TLD.

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