Moderation Issues (1)

cropped-adelie-penguin-antarctica_89655_990x7421.jpgAs the original Moderation page has developed a bug so that permalinks no longer navigate to the appropriate comment, I thought I’d put up a page for continuing discussion on moderating issues. The Rules can be found there so anyone with an issue should check that they are familiar with them.

26th June 2015: the bug has now affected this page so there is now a new Moderation Issues page here.

1,099 thoughts on “Moderation Issues (1)

  1. Elizabeth,

    Quick executive summary:

    Alan created a Wine Cellar page to store whines, and moved some posts there. Some folk didn’t like it.

    A quick glance at the beginning of Wine Cellar will give a good picture.

  2. Lizzie,

    Congrats on the paper. What’s the topic?

    Neil’s summary omits some important information. But if you’re busy with work, don’t mind us. We’ll fill you in later when you have more time.

  3. Patrick: I can see it being a reasonable alternative to Guano. I would have like to have seen it presented to Lizzie first, to get her views and clarification of when comments should be moved there.

    It’s a fair point and I apologise to you, Neil and Lizzie for overstepping this boundary.

    On the other hand, I could argue that Guano and the existing rules are sufficient.

    Back-channel, I had a brief discussion with Lizzie regarding the Sal/Glen incident and she mentioned the idea of moving comments that were outside the spirit of the rules to the sandbox. I ran with that in an attempt to solve the walto/Keiths problem after my attempt at arbitration and requesting they move on failed.

    I look forward to Herself joining the conversation.

    I’m pleased to see Lizzie has had time to check in. What I did was transparent, reversible, involved no censoring of people’s views and, above all, was intended as a temporary measure until Lizzie had time to deal with it and reprimand me for my presumption.

  4. Alan,

    It’s a fair point and I apologise to you [Patrick], Neil and Lizzie for overstepping this boundary.

    That’s an interestingly targeted apology. Why such a narrow target? You don’t think your willingness to abuse moderator privileges is a disservice to all of us?

    What I did was transparent, reversible, involved no censoring of people’s views and, above all, was intended as a temporary measure until Lizzie had time to deal with it and reprimand me for my presumption.

    What you did was to treat TSZ as your personal fiefdom instead of honoring the rules that you, as a moderator, had agreed to abide by. As I wrote earlier:

    You were personally annoyed, so you tossed Lizzie’s rules aside and abused your moderator privileges. You

    1) invented a new rule (and this isn’t the first time, either);

    2) interfered with a discussion by moving comments to a new thread of your own making; and

    3) actively prevented a discussion of a moderation issue from taking place in the Moderation Issues thread.

    #3 is especially egregious. For a moderator to interfere with a moderation discussion is unconscionable.

  5. Sorry, I overlooked this before.

    keiths:
    Alan,

    No, I don’t accept that.

    You know as well as I do that the way to maintain free and open dialogue is by allowing free and open dialogue, not by using your moderation privileges to interfere with it.

    Look at what you wrote:

    You were personally annoyed, so you tossed Lizzie’s rules aside and abused your moderator privileges.You

    1) invented a new rule (and this isn’t the first time, either);

    2) interfered with a discussion by moving comments to a new thread of your own making; and

    3) actively prevented a discussion of a moderation issue from taking place in the Moderation Issues thread.

    That is not how you “maintain free and open dialogue”, as you know perfectly well.

    I’ll wait for your OP to discuss matters of opinion but I’d like to take issue on a couple of matters of fact.

    “You were personally annoyed” is an assumption that is wrong and vague. I am still disappointed that, unless I have missed it, there is no indication from you that you bear some responsibility for causing this unfortunate episode. It does not annoy me, it disappoints me.

    “That is not how you “maintain free and open dialogue”, as you know perfectly well.” I know no such thing and I have taken other people to task for claiming to know what others think rather than asking them.

    The matters of opinion you raise, I guess will be subject matter in your OP on moderation. I’ll chip in in the comments (without my moderator’s hat for that thread, in fact why not try the “moderation only on request” approach as an experiment) if there is anything useful I can add.

  6. Alan:

    “You were personally annoyed” is an assumption that is wrong and vague.

    No. You wrote:

    I’m tired of seeing the pair of you snipe at each other. If anyone other than you or walto want to object, they can do it here in the moderation issues thread. If you or walto want to object, you’ll have to take it up with Lizzie.

    You were personally annoyed, as I said. You abused your moderator privileges by ignoring Lizzie’s rules, inventing one of your own, and preventing me from raising moderation issues in the thread that was explicitly created for them.

    That sort of behavior is unacceptable for a moderator. The last thing a moderator should be interfering with is criticism directed at himself.

  7. Alan,

    I am still disappointed that, unless I have missed it, there is no indication from you that you bear some responsibility for causing this unfortunate episode.

    By defending myself against walto’s attacks? I reserve the right to defend myself, just as you do. Don’t hypocritically punish me for exercising a right you reserve for yourself.

    You’ve been extremely biased in your handling of the “bickering”. If person A makes false accusations against person B, and person B defends himself, who is at fault? If person B offers an olive branch to person A, and person A rejects it and resumes his attacks, who is at fault?

    You treated A and B, walto and me, as equivalent. That’s ridiculous.

  8. Alan,

    “That is not how you “maintain free and open dialogue”, as you know perfectly well.” I know no such thing and I have taken other people to task for claiming to know what others think rather than asking them.

    Don’t insult your own intelligence, Alan. I think that even you know that to interfere with a moderation discussion — particularly when you are being criticized — is the antithesis of “maintaining free and open dialogue.”

  9. Alan Fox: What I did was transparent, reversible, involved no censoring of people’s views and, above all, was intended as a temporary measure until Lizzie had time to deal with it and reprimand me for my presumption.

    Seems entirely sensible to me. Having been admin at the Gormenghast of procedural minutiae that is Talk Rational, I’d much rather mods did what they thought best at the time, transparently and reversibly, than sit around waiting for a decision from somewhere else.

    Usually forums and blogs are done for joy not necessity, and some admins have a habit of going awol…..

    I think the Wine Cellar is a good idea. I’ve always thought that it’s important to have a place where people can continue conversations or spats or whatever that are interrupting a thread, or break its rules. At the old IIDB it was called ~Elsewhere~, at TR it was “The Compost Heap” (and has been called various things since), and at Secular Cafe it’s The Smoking Room, I think. I guess it’s why I started the sandbox, except that not being a forum, there’s only one thread, so maybe another is a good idea, especially one for less comfortably trivial matters.

    Let’s give it a go. If it proves to be a ulcer on the body politic, we can close comments and leave it as a monument to the perils of too much whine.

    And as you’ve pointed out, it’s posts that are moved, not people. And space for people to discuss their grievances, not a means of preventing them doing so.

  10. keiths:
    Lizzie,

    Congrats on the paper.What’s the topic?

    No call for congrats yet – I was just celebrating getting through the business of actually submitting. It’s been rejected a few times, and of course each journal has its idiosyncrasies (“Tables must be numbered in Roman numerals”) of manuscript preparation, and other hoops to crawl through before you can hit submit. It’s a paper about the effect of a stimulus being behaviourally relevant on oscillatory patterns (modulation of the beta band, specifically), and how this modulation appearst to be disrupted in schizophrenia. But the sample size is smaller than we’d like, and the method novel, so it’s vulnerable. But we’d like to see it published somewhere good, so we keep trying! Eventually we may have to lower our sights.

    Neil’s summary omits some important information.But if you’re busy with work, don’t mind us. We’ll fill you in later when you have more time.

    OK. Got the next huge to-do item on my list to get done by today, but will try not to let TSZ fall off the list.

  11. keiths said:

    So many of the problems at TSZ boil down to a refusal to take responsibility.

    I take responsibility for what I mean when I write a thing, not for how anybody else interprets what I write. My obligation (in civil debate) is to clarify and correct when others misinterpret or mischaracterize something I say; in charitable debate, I don’t assume they are deliberately misinterpreting me.

    However, when they insist on their misinterpretation over my correction, that ends the capacity for charitable debate with that person. They cannot be arguing in good faith.

  12. William J. Murray: However, when they insist on their misinterpretation over my correction, that ends the capacity for charitable debate with that person. They cannot be arguing in good faith.

    Ah, you mean when you tell others what they are really thinking despite their protestations to the contrary you admit you are not arguing in good faith?

    I’m glad to see you finally say it.

  13. Lizzie and/or Alan,

    I really wish you’d respond to the inquiry/request I made over at the wine cellar. I really don’t want to have to repeat those posts here.

    Thanks.

  14. Alan Fox:

    What I did was transparent, reversible, involved no censoring of people’s views and, above all, was intended as a temporary measure until Lizzie had time to deal with it and reprimand me for my presumption.

    Lizzie:

    Seems entirely sensible to me.

    That surprises me. I think the sensible thing would have been for Alan to continue applying the existing rules, since there was no emergency and nothing that required an immediate rule change. He acted precipitously and irrationally based on his own irritation rather than on a measured and objective assessment of the situation.

    It led to a needless kerfuffle, and the same thing has happened before when Alan and Neil have invented new rules on the fly.

    Having been admin at the Gormenghast of procedural minutiae that is Talk Rational, I’d much rather mods did what they thought best at the time, transparently and reversibly, than sit around waiting for a decision from somewhere else.

    If action were actually needed, I would agree. That wasn’t true in this case, and it hasn’t been true in the other cases in which Alan and Neil have invented new rules out of whole cloth.

    I think the Wine Cellar is a good idea. I’ve always thought that it’s important to have a place where people can continue conversations or spats or whatever that are interrupting a thread, or break its rules.

    I have no problem with the availability of “specialty” threads for people to (voluntarily) post to, but increasing the power of moderators to interfere by moving comments to such threads seems like a really bad idea.

    More on this in my upcoming OP on moderation at TSZ, which I’ll try to accelerate since the topic is timely.

    In the meantime, I’m interested in your take on this: I think Alan stepped way over the line by interfering with criticism of his moderation. Such criticism belongs on the Moderation Issues thread, which was created explicitly for that purpose, and I see no valid reason whatsoever for him to prevent it from taking place there.

    The comments regarding moderation should never have been moved. They belong here on the Moderation Issues thread.

  15. William:

    However, when they insist on their misinterpretation over my correction, that ends the capacity for charitable debate with that person. They cannot be arguing in good faith.

    OMagain:

    Ah, you mean when you tell others what they are really thinking despite their protestations to the contrary you admit you are not arguing in good faith?

    I’m glad to see you finally say it.

    William’s bullet, meet William’s foot.

    Too funny.

  16. The comments regarding moderation should never have been moved. They belong here on the Moderation Issues thread.

    I agree with that. As I’ve said, even if what Alan did was a good idea (and I know you’ve expressed doubts about that), I don’t think the implementation of it has made any sense at all.

    For example, adjacent to one of our posts in moderation was a post in which OMagain called Murray (I’m paraphrasing here) “dumber than a five-year-old.” That spat has been going on much longer and contains many more posts than ours. But Alan said that the wine cellar is specifically for our disagreements. So where do other ones go–Wine Cellar 2, Wine Cellar 3, etc.? And, as you’ve said, it’s now not clear whether posts will be moved to one of these Wine Cellars rather than to Guano. No criteria have been provided. So the result is just a bunch of additional forums (fora?) that are entirely incomprehensible. If we must have these sorts of rules here (and I’ve said several times what I think of that approach), they should be public and understandable.

  17. William J. Murray:
    I take responsibility for what I mean when I write a thing, not for how anybody else interprets what I write.

    And this is entirely inadequate. You need to accept responsibility for what you actually wrote, instead of shifting the blame for your failure to write standard English onto your audience.
    A simple “That`s not what I meant”, avoiding the “Good grief… can you two at least try to be reasonable?”, would go a long way to maintaining the civility of the debate.

    P.S. Well played, OMagain, well played.

  18. walto,

    I agree with your criticisms. If Lizzie and the moderators undertake the exercise of actually setting the criteria, I think they’ll begin to see the problem.

    What constitutes a “whine”, and do we really want moderators making such a subjective judgment?

  19. OMagain said:

    Ah, you mean when you tell others what they are really thinking despite their protestations to the contrary you admit you are not arguing in good faith?

    I don’t know of any case where I have told someone else what they were thinking. Can you provide an example? Be careful not to quote-mine.

  20. DNA_Jock said:

    And this is entirely inadequate. You need to accept responsibility for what you actually wrote, instead of shifting the blame for your failure to write standard English onto your audience.

    I didn’t shift the blame on anyone. I corrected keiths misinterpretation. Correcting a misinterpretation is not putting any “blame” on anyone. Misinterpretations occur all the time. No one is to “blame” for it. After that, keith was quote-mining because he had been corrected about his misinterpretation but continued to insist upon it.

    A simple “That`s not what I meant”, avoiding the “Good grief… can you two at least try to be reasonable?”, would go a long way to maintaining the civility of the debate.

    How hypocritical of you … let’s look at the posts that preceded that comment to see if you’re leaving out some pertinent information, shall we? A few posts prior to that, keith said, rather out of the blue as I had been exchanging with Alan just fine up until then:

    Do you realize how ridiculous your claim is that “all prior posts by all prior anti-ID commenters have all remained intact”?

    Is referring to my statement as “ridiculous” and mischaracterizing it as a “claim” the best way to go about civil discourse, Mr. I Hypocritically Protect My Own?

    My comment to Alan was in a prior context and wasn’t in the form of a “claim”, as keiths characterizes it – I just wasn’t aware of any prior times at UD where a posters entire history of posts had been eradicated. That was the line of thought in my exchanges with Alan – I wondered why Alan had apparently been singled out for an entire history removal.

    Now, how did I actually respond to this uncivil and mischaracterizing post by keiths? I civilly asked:

    Did someone else at UD (besides Aurelio Smith) have their entire post history deleted?

    Note that response, Mr. I Can’t Be Bothered To Actually Read The History Of The Discussion I’m Inserting Myself Into. Note the civil tone. Note also what it indicates; that I was talking about “entire post history deletions” – exactly what I have been saying I was talking about. In that response, I was assuming keith had meant what he had said in his attack the same way I had meant it.

    Keith was the one who had opened up the bad behavior here, not me, by characterizing my “claim” as “ridiculous”.

    Now, how does keith respond? With a quote of mine where he added emphasis to what I said that indicated to me keith had misinterpreted my statement:

    all prior posts by all prior anti-ID commenters have all remained intact. [Emphasis added]

    Surely even you understand how laughable that claim is.

    Well there’s another civil term: laughable. But, don’t take keith to task for his incivility – he’s one of your own, correct? Ideology is thicker than hypocrisy, after all.

    I agree that had I meant to say what keiths’ emphasis-altered misinterpretation meant, it woud indeed have been laughable. So, how did I respond?

    Good grief, how on Earth would I know what has happened to every single post ever made at UD? I don’t even read most threads there. Can you two at least try to be reasonable?

    Try and look at the context, keiths & rich. Scroll up and look at my posts. I had asked Alan why he thought he was particularly chosen to have all his prior posts deleted. As far as I know, he’s the only one this has ever happened to.

    Now, here’s a situation where the context of what I actually said is available in this very thread and I’m correcting you about my meaning concerning something I just wrote. Will you continue to quote mine this in the future and misrepresent what I meant, even after the author has corrected you, right here and now, right after I said it?

    Or, will you in the spirit of good debate accept my correction? If not – if you insist on using my quote in a manner I did not mean it – how is that not quote-mining?

    Which I think is pretty tame when compared to already being called “ridiculous” and “laughable” by keiths. especially considering how many times keiths has done this same quote-mining schtick before.

    P.S. Well played, OMagain, well played.

    Feel free to provide an example of where I have told other people their thoughts. Especially germane to this debate, please tell me where I have insisted that someone’s intended meaning of a statement was not what they explicitly said it was. You know, so we can compare apples to apples.

  21. William J. Murray: I’ll take that as a “no”.

    Take it as a “it does not matter what I do because you’ll never ever be wrong about anything ever”. If I thought there was the slightest possibility you would acknowledge error I would bother, but I don’t think that so I won’t bother.

    Take that how you like. But given I asked you to support your allegation of me quote-mining you on what basis are you now asking me to support this?

    If you can be bothered to support your allegations, then perhaps I’ll be bothered to support mine – starting to see how it works yet?

  22. OMagain: Take it as a “it does not matter what I do because you’ll never ever be wrong about anything ever”. If I thought there was the slightest possibility you would acknowledge error I would bother, but I don’t think that so I won’t bother.

    Take that how you like. But given I asked you to support your allegation of me quote-mining you on what basis are you now asking me to support this?

    Where did I allege that you quote-mined me?

    If you can be bothered to support your allegations, then perhaps I’ll be bothered to support mine – starting to see how it works yet?

    My assumption that no one else had ever had their entire post history deleted at UD was wrong, and I thanked the person that brought it to my attention in this very thread.

  23. William J. Murray:

    Feel free to provide an example of where I have told other people their thoughts.

    Errr, in the quoted post…

    Mr. I Hypocritically Protect My Own

    Mr. I Can’t Be Bothered To Actually Read The History Of The Discussion I’m Inserting Myself Into

    Second GSW to the foot.

    Your statement, as written with the three “all”s, was ridiculous. As you yourself confirmed. It wasn’t what you meant.

  24. walto: And, as you’ve said, it’s now not clear whether posts will be moved to one of these Wine Cellars rather than to Guano. No criteria have been provided.

    Well, I freely concede that I have not yet got my head round the antecedents to all this but let me propose some tentative criteria to be going on with:

    Posts that violate the “game-rules”, as go to Guano, as ever, although I think a light touch is always good. People are free of course to repost their guano’d post without the bit that got it guano’d, and they can even link to the guano’d version if they like.

    If people have a specific issue with the guanoing (at TR there is a forum subtitled called “Why the fuck was my post moved and other stories”, a title I’m quite proud of) they raise it in Moderation.

    If they want to continue a flame fest with whoever it was they were flaming when the post got guano’d, they continue it in the Wine Cellar (unlike Guano, you can actually post new comments there), leaving the Sandbox free for general off-topic chit-chat that might start there, or might have been moved there from a thread where it didn’t break the game rules but were a bit of a derail.

    tl:dr version:

    Rule violating comments to OPs => Guano
    Objections to mod actions => Moderation Issues
    Fisticuffs for consenting adults => Wine Cellar
    General chit-chat and penguinery = Sandbox.

  25. I take it, then, that ALL “fisticuffs for consenting adults” are to be sent to Wine Cellar. Alan had indicated it was only for the walto/keiths bruhaha. I think your idea is better, and I point out again that it has not been applied in that manner to date.

    Secondly, I repeat my plea that you or Alan or somebody pick some particular time and date, present, past or future, and apply any such rules as you agree upon starting at that time and date. Both Moderation and Wine Cellar are currently incomprehensible because posts were basically moved at random from Moderation to Wine Cellar at some point, with no rhyme or reason. Some, but not all, of our bickers were moved, and other stuff that had little to do with that fight were also moved.

    If you want to move everything back to Moderation and start enforcing your new rules, say, at 5 PM Eastern time today, that would be fine. Alternatively,if you want to retroactively pick a date and time and move all appropriate posts from then on, that would be OK too. But what was actually done was neither of those things. And, as said, not only do both forums make no sense at all at present as a result, but I don’t think the randomness produced fairness (as sometimes happens as a result of serendipity).

    Thanks for your prompt attention.

  26. keiths:
    walto,

    I agree with your criticisms. If Lizzie and the moderators undertake the exercise of actually setting the criteria, I think they’ll begin to see the problem.

    What constitutes a “whine”, and do we really want moderators making such a subjective judgment?

    You’re right, it can’t help but make a big mess even bigger. It’s one thing if people want to have their “fisticuffs” there, but it’s pretty clear that posts will be moved willy-nilly based on whether they annoy this or that moderator. I’ve mentioned the OMagain/Murray feud a couple of times. Since I first started posting here, one of those guys has stalked the other one relentlessly. As this was part of a “team” battle, however (i.e., good guys v bad guys), nobody ever seems to have cared much.

    I think with you and me, the fights have been orthogonal to the main creation v evolution thing that everybody cares so much about here, and that’s why it’s pissed more people off. I don’t want to pass judgment on that other blood feud, myself, but now the moderators will have to. Which of the fifty zillion future antagonistic posts in their dispute will be moved? I mean, is it OK to call somebody dumber than a 5-year-old only if one or the other of the disputants is on one or the other two important teams, but not if it results mostly from one of the participants really disliking the other one?

  27. Finally, if you’re going to go through with this, you need to change the “Game Rules” which are linked on the Guano tab. They aren’t consistent with the new wrinkles.

  28. Alan Fox,

    It’s a fair point and I apologise to you, Neil and Lizzie for overstepping this boundary.

    No need to apologize to me. It is She Who Pays for Bandwidth who makes the call.

  29. Lizzie,

    I think the Wine Cellar is a good idea. I’ve always thought that it’s important to have a place where people can continue conversations or spats or whatever that are interrupting a thread, or break its rules.

    I’m just getting caught up during lunch so this may have been addressed already, but who decides what constitutes a “spat” as opposed to a simple disagreement in the context of an argument? For example, do repeated accusations of quote mining, with evidence, mean that comments will be moved to Wine, even though the person making the accusations has a legitimate complaint?

    The existing rules on what to move to Guano are fairly clear. This new approach opens up a great deal of ambiguity and the risk both of abuse and perceived abuse by the moderators.

    It’s your site and your rules, but I’d rather have to scroll past comments I don’t want to read than fill the site with meta arguments about unfair moderation.

  30. Lizzie,

    Rule violating comments to OPs => Guano
    Objections to mod actions => Moderation Issues
    Fisticuffs for consenting adults => Wine Cellar
    General chit-chat and penguinery = Sandbox.

    Under these criteria no moderator can move comments to the Wine Cellar. I agree with that approach, but I’m not positive it’s what you meant. If it is, the comments involuntarily moved to the Wine Cellar should be moved back to their original thread.

  31. WJM:

    I take responsibility for what I mean when I write a thing, not for how anybody else interprets what I write.

    I take responsibility for what I write. If what I write doesn’t express my intended meaning well, resulting in misunderstanding, I take responsibility for causing that misunderstanding.

  32. I think you might have misread that list, Patrick. But if you’re right, then I agree that everything should be moved back, and if you’re wrong, I hope my above request will be honored.

  33. walto: I mean, is it OK to call somebody dumber than a 5-year-old only if one or the other of the disputants is on one or the other two important teams, but not if it results mostly from one of the participants really disliking the other one?

    It changes every time you repeat it. An inability to learn is not dumbness. WJM is obviously a smart person, however you slice it. Smart covers a lot of ground however.

  34. I think I wrote it the same way twice, actually. The first time I believe indicated I was paraphrasing, and the second time I just asked a general question and didn’t make any attributions.

    As I said in one of my posts, I’m not passing judgment, OMagain. I’ve certainly made many remarks at least as insulting as calling somebody dumber than a five-year-old, anyhow. I mean, I HAVE noticed that you kind of stalk Murray, but I look at it as a public service, myself.

    Also, for what little it’s worth, I don’t find Murray particularly smart, though I haven’t sliced it too many ways.

  35. walto,
    Fair enough. It is a kind of stalking. It’s like a reverse vise strategy. If you can get enough of them to say enough contradictory things then eventually the evidence that it’s all in their (collective) minds will be overwhelming!

    We’re not too far off from software that can mine textual data for “truth”, you may have seen this in the news recently where Google are giving sites with factually correct content boosts in the ratings.

    Eventually I suspect an entire comment history can be turned into a mutually exclusive truth table, where new statements have to fit into a constrained set of choices, constrained by their own history. All in real time, with pretty pictures.

    It’ll be an interesting time then for sellers of “woo”.

  36. Patrick,

    Under these criteria no moderator can move comments to the Wine Cellar. I agree with that approach, but I’m not positive it’s what you meant. If it is, the comments involuntarily moved to the Wine Cellar should be moved back to their original thread.

    Either way, it’s clear that she wants moderation issues to be discussed here in the Moderation Issues thread.

    Objections to mod actions => Moderation Issues

    Alan, please move those comments back here, where they belong, immediately.

  37. Also, I see that you deleted a comment:

    ETA delete whine

    Comments should never be deleted here, including your own — even if you are embarrassed by them.

    For a moderator to do this sets an especially bad precedent.

  38. Patrick:
    Lizzie,

    Under these criteria no moderator can move comments to the Wine Cellar.I agree with that approach, but I’m not positive it’s what you meant.If it is, the comments involuntarily moved to the Wine Cellar should be moved back to their original thread.

    No, it wasn’t, quite. What I meant is that flames can be moved to the Wine Cellar and continued there, if people seem to want that.

    I probably need to think a bit more about this though. And right now, I’m kinda up to my ears in other stuff.

    Maybe everyone take a cold shower for a bit?

    (yeah, yeah, I know, I know….)

  39. keiths,

    OMagain:
    walto,
    Fair enough. It is a kind of stalking. It’s like a reverse vise strategy. If you can get enough of them to say enough contradictory things then eventually the evidence that it’s all in their (collective) minds will be overwhelming!

    We’re not too far off from software that can mine textual data for “truth”, you may have seen this in the news recently where Google are giving sites with factually correct content boosts in the ratings.

    Eventually I suspect an entire comment history can be turned into a mutually exclusive truth table, where new statements have to fit into a constrained set of choices, constrained by their own history. All in real time, with pretty pictures.

    It’ll be an interesting time then for sellers of “woo”.

    That’s really interesting–I hadn’t heard anything about it. Do you have any sense what sort of methodology google will use to assess veracity?

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