inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #51 of 96: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sat 19 Sep 15 17:29
    
That's one thing facebook has all over the Well.   I can go back, 
sometimes days later, and correct my inevitble typos.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #52 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 20 Sep 15 09:20
    
pg 45 of your book..."Sites that take advantage of our social
networks for commercial interests hasten a world in which we are all
increasingly tempted to take advantage of each other." I gather you
meant spam, fakes, sockpuppets, makers and takers and the 'racket of
reputation management'.

There's a whole lot packed in here. It seems like the first exchange
for adopting 'free' social network sites is that we are immediately
marketed from within and without. And the gaming of comments,
reviews, etc. begins. Are pay sites noticeably better in regards to
comments and is there a difference as to whether or not they allow
advertising? Is marketing of our preferences, comments, likes, etc.
going to get worse as things go along or is there some solution(s)
and examples of where this is being addressed?

Here's a link to the overall philosophy of "free" social media:
http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/9338963/welcome-to-hell-apple-vs-google-vs-f
acebook-and-the-slow-death-of-the-web

Along with all of this we now have ad-blocking wars:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/20/technology/personaltech/ad-blockers-and-the-
nuisance-at-the-heart-of-the-modern-web.html?_r=1

Brought on by the move from desktop to mobile, there's two sides to
this as much of our web experience is based on the revenue these
companies make via ads and clicks ($billions!!).

How bad is all this going to get before it gets better? Does it get
better?

Sorry for all the questions all at once but they seem related.

(scribbled <47> to add some supporting links)
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #53 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Sun 20 Sep 15 13:29
    
Thanks for the links, Ted. I agree those are important questions.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #54 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Mon 21 Sep 15 06:39
    
<ari> I also reference a talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates (a senior editor
of and blogger at *The Atlantic*) about how seeing the following
below a story is inimical to creating a community: "5,000 comments.
Join the conversation." I would take this as a signal that one is
not going to find a community.


<tcn> I've been following the Apple news with interest too. It's an
ongoing issue, but Apple has certainly brought it to the fore again.
We discuss the role of ads and blocking in one of my classes [1].
All I know is I used ad-blockers, some of the students happily
continue to do so, and some of the students remove the ad-blockers
once the assignment is over.

[1]:
http://reagle.org/joseph/2015/cda/cda-syllabus-FA.html#oct-27-tue---online-ads
-and-blockers
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #55 of 96: Ari Davidow (ari) Mon 21 Sep 15 10:13
    
Joseph, interesting response. One of the issues we faced (and I
think dealt with well) was how to encourage "comments" on an
encyclopedia that we put online about a decade ago. We ended up with
language that said something like, "this article was compiled in
2004. If you have updates or other information, please post." Plenty
of fans posted anyway ("I think XX was the most important scientist
of the 19th century."), but we got a nice amount of updates and
discussion, as well. But, this was also on a very low volume
website--no binders full of comments--a dozen was already
exceptional.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #56 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 21 Sep 15 13:42
    
Chapter 3, Manipulated, was fascinating. I had no idea the amount of
manipulation going on. I'm a big Twitter user and curate and blog
about Digital Culture. In the early days sites like Klout and
PeerIndex were fairly good in gauging reputation so that you could
get an idea how you were doing compared to other folk. Now that
companies have gamed the whole thing it doesn't seem like those
scores have relevance any more. 

Does social reputation have any meaning these days? Most of these
sites are pay now and seem more about branding. I've decided that
reputation, at least mine anyway, is more closely linked to my
Dunbar number - the people I follow and who follow me and how I'm
regarded there, in respect to retweets, favorites, mentions, etc. Is
that about right? 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #57 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Mon 21 Sep 15 14:50
    
<tcn> I'm ambivalent about quantified reputation systems. I
appreciate Drucker's law: "If you can't measure it you can't manage
it." But I also see recognize Goodhart/Campbell's law "When a
measure becomes a target it seeks to be a good measure." I've
written more about rankings and manipulations in a study of
photo.net, another early online community and posited 6
observations:

- It’s hard to quantify the qualitative: there was much
experimentation with rating and ranking systems.
- Quantitative mechanisms beget their manipulation: people “mate”
rated friends, “revenge” rated enemies, and inflated their own
standing.
- “Fixes” to manipulation have their own, often unintended,
consequences and are also susceptible to manipulation: non-anonymous
ratings led to rating inflation.
- Quantification (and the how one implements it) privileges some
things over others: nudes were highly rated, more so when measured
by number of comments, not so with photos of flowers.
- Any “fixes” often take the form of more elaborate, automated, and
meta quantification: such as making some users “curators” or
labeling them as “helpful.”
- Digital works can be “tweak critiqued”: photos are not only rated
and commented upon, but demonstratively altered (e.g., cropping).

I'm not sure what you mean by your Dunbar number? You mean you are
most concerned about what those in your more intimate circle think?
I think that's a good strategy.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #58 of 96: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 21 Sep 15 15:39
    
It's hard for any single individual to see clearly what's happening
online, e.g. the level of manipulation or the level of flame,
because we're so silo'd, so focused on the emanations from our
specific networks of attention. 

My experience of Facebook is contingent on algorithmic
interpretation of my behavior that determines what I'll see, which
means that as busily as I might scan my stream, I'm missing far more
than I'm seeing, and can't make a good objective assessment of the
state of my network or "community." 

It's good to see these objective, broader studies that show us
what's often hidden from view, at least for those of us who want to
understand the environment and engage productively.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #59 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 21 Sep 15 15:48
    
Thanks for your detailed response above.

<I'm not sure what you mean by your Dunbar number? You mean you are
most concerned about what those in your more intimate circle think?
I think that's a good strategy.>

Yes...I've taken a number of online classes with Howard Rheingold
and he spends a good amount of time re: Dunbar's theories. So I
applied it to several lists I put together on Twitter and came up
with my 150 people who influence me, and I follow them. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #60 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Tue 22 Sep 15 14:33
    
<jon> One of the nice things about Twitter is they don't shape your
feed---yet. They've been hinting they will at some point.
http://digiday.com/platforms/dont-fear-algorithm-twitters-new-feed-will-mean-b
rands/
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #61 of 96: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 22 Sep 15 16:40
    
That raises a question: is Twitter at "the bottom of the web"? It's
comments, but it's not comments at the bottom of the page; rather,
front and center. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #62 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Wed 23 Sep 15 06:00
    
<jonl> Twitter is a commenting platform, but in this way it signals
the ascendancy of comment: it's only comments, and new ones appear
at the top of the page!
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #63 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 09:20
    
Re: adblocks...Doc Searls has a lot of good things to say about the
issue and has a different take on it...

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/2015/09/23/how-adtech-not-ad-blocking-breaks-
the-social-contract/
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #64 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 09:27
    
You would think good content would result in good comments...

"This summer BuzzSumo teamed up with Moz to analyze the shares and
links of over 1m articles. We wanted to look at the correlation of
shares and links, to understand the content that gets both shares
and links, and to identify the formats that get relatively more
shares or links."

https://moz.com/blog/content-shares-and-links-insights-from-analyzing-1-millio
n-articles

Worth a look, comprehensive and suprising findings. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #65 of 96: Ari Davidow (ari) Thu 24 Sep 15 10:57
    
I'm finding myself not surprised at the findings at all. When I was
at the Jewish Women's Archive, we seemed to find over and over that
people weren't looking for shorter bits of history--they were
looking for accessible, authoritative, "long-enough" content from
which they could extract what they were seeking.

Coming from a different direction, it makes perfect sense that
ephemera such as quizzes and games would get lots of shares and few
links. Links, for most people in most systems, take much more
effort.

But there may have been other findings that I missed that are the
source of your "suprising findings" comment--if so, apologies.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #66 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 24 Sep 15 11:04
    
<tcn> thanks for the link to Searls and Moz. I'm *not* surprised at
"The majority of posts receive few shares and even fewer links." I
would expect a power law.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #67 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 24 Sep 15 11:11
    
I just want to mention that I've been thinking about the implications of
this bit of the book (from page 178) for the last couple of days:

>   Additionally, online communication lends itself to what I call drama
>   genres of comment. In a lecture about television in the 1970s, media
>   theorist Raymond Williams observed that "We never have as a society
>   acted so much or watched so many others acting." To our ancestors,
>   drama was periodic, as experienced in the celebration of a religious
>   festival or the occasional "taking in a show." According to Williams
>   in the age of television, drama "is built-in to the rhythms of
>   everyday life. What we have now is drama as habitual experience: more
>   in a week, in many cases, than most human beings would previously have
>   seen in a lifetime."xg Online people can see more drama in a week than
>   Williams could see in a lifetime of watching television. And I use the
>   word drama in two senses scholars' notion of performance and teenagers'
>   sense of histrionics. In the age of comment, people are always
>   performing front of stage, and much of it is sensational.

For me, this brings to mind Don Norman's notion of User Centered System
Design and the value of thinking about systems first from the point-of-
view of the (human) user. I think this is harder than it seems.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #68 of 96: Ari Davidow (ari) Thu 24 Sep 15 11:21
    
Slipped by Joseph--yes, that's another expected result, that most
content gets no links or shares, and echoes what we see elsewhere.
(And now I can say that seeing it in my own posts says that I am
average, not a failure ;-).)
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #69 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 11:29
    
(ari) no, you pretty much nailed it. I find myself completely out of
my depth in this whole area of digital culture. I avoid comments
like the plague and adblock, pop-up block and DoNotTrack everything.
'Reading View' is the best thing that every happened to mobile
browsers, as they strip everything but the writing (IMHO).

So Joseph's book has been a real eyeopener for me, as well as this
entire conversation. All new territory and I appreciate everyone's
comments and involvement here.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #70 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 11:38
    
One more link that echoes prior remarks about poor comments, this
one from TechCrunch:

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/19/the-internet-and-its-discontents/

Categorizes the worst of the trolls and concludes:

"Maybe the unlimited speech genie can’t be put back in the bottle.
Maybe the solution involves in not curtailing freedom of speech but
expressing the right not to listen, in blocklists and content
filters and automated curation. Maybe Jane McGonigal’s utopian
vision of a world where we create Heaven on Earth by carefully
filtering out the negative voices in our environment and nurturing
only the constructive ones is our way out."
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #71 of 96: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 24 Sep 15 12:53
    
Joseph quotes Xeni Jardin: "Online Communities Rot without Daily
Tending by Human Hands." Hasn't the WELL had the answer all along? I
refer to the concept of host conversation vs unmanaged drive-by
comments. Shouldn't we be training, finding and funding facilitators
who can fill the role once described here as "fairwitness"?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #72 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 24 Sep 15 13:00
    
Yes. As we've observed before, the tragedy of the commons is really the
tragedy of the *unmanaged* commons.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #73 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 13:03
    
(clm) slipped in...

Craig, good point, and there is a lot of design work and thinking
finally going on. Now, if we can just keep the marketers away from
it.

(jonl) I'm assuming you mean people different from 'social media
mangagers'? I unfollow them as fast as possible.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #74 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 24 Sep 15 13:04
    
Entropy seems to move pretty quickly on the Internet :)
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #75 of 96: David Gans (tnf) Thu 24 Sep 15 18:15
    

In the early days of the WELL, Howard Rheingold referred to this culture as
"writing as a performing art." Or it might have been John Coate.
  

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