Fermented fish symbiotically pollinate model's hardwood feet
Paying by the word
We were sent a particularly marvellous example of the kind of tortuous mistreatment of language that can result from extended strategy boutique cross-fibre base-touching in the presence of far too much joss-stick smoke. It's possible there was something else fishy in the incense burners too. Enjoy Symbiotic Ephemeralization.
My Buzzword Bingo card spontaneously combusted and burnt my desk. I'd sue somebody or other if I could be bothered.
All it needs is random capitalisation of specific letters in random words, a few instances of "CyberAIntel" and "NEUKlearer" thrown in, and you could pass it off as a treatise written by amanfrommars!
Well I, for one, welcome our new gibberish-speaking overlords!
Looks fine to me. "Can't see what all the fuss is about" might be a little simplistic but surely a serious attempt to re-invent a holistic language methodology deserves a more sympathetic treatment? It's not easy to enhance meaning-centred technologies whilst simultaneously retaining a radical, extended paradigm to disintermediate incompatible outcomes. Especially when the benefits of a harmonized, team-based culture (contd. p94)
You don't understand it? As my old dad used to say:
A slight inclination of the cranium is as adequate as a spasmodic closure of an optic, to an equine quadroped deprived of its sense of vision.
My favourite term is pseudo-arbitrary. Awesome. It's good of them to point out that it would probably be inadvisable to attempt to create an infinite number of Symbiotic Innovation Nodes though; that could have been a real productivity killer if left unclarified.
Perhaps the wierdest thing about this document is that according to the title page at leaset it was written in Australia.
There was a time when when ausies would beat you into a pulp for using long words like "maramalade" and "corragated" in public.
What happened Bruce?
We ran a rather long article - too long, in fact, for some of you, and you let us know it - on the byzantine and cult-like practices that go on in the upper echelons of the Wikipediadministration. It led to a discussion on the very nature of news (don't ask us, we just do this for the beer money):
All news and information is biased because it comes from people. If they are on salary, they must please their employers, or at least avoid offending them. If they are writing for free, they will certainly please themselves, as bloggers and El Reg posters routinely do. If they are somewhere in between, like Wikipedia, they must hew to Wikipedia customs as enforced by the tribal elders or be suppressed.
What Wikipedia does is expose the social dynamics of a laudable attempt to somehow democratize the construction of "impartial news and information". The question is not whether the process is flawed: it obviously is, and always will be due to its necessarily social (and therefore political) nature. The real question is whether the Wikipedia process is likely, on average, to provide better (less-biased) information than we get from the mainstream, bought-and-paid-for media.
I, for one, appreciate the news about tussling over Wikipedia article edits because it proves that there is at least some translucency (if not transparency) to the process. Corporate marketeers and the mainstream media are professionally opaque in this regard, yet their news is routinely accepted and reported on here, so I think that it is a bit of a cheap shot for El Reg to snipe at Wikipedia as it frequently does.
That said, I don't consider the current article to be sniping, but simply an interesting window into a social enterprise that attempts to democratize the provision of unbiased information.
Marshall MacLuhan did us all a great favor by pointing out that "news from nowhere" is an illusion; lack of knowledge about how sausage is made is no guarantee of hygiene. In summary: I wish we all treated mainstream media with the same suspicion lavished on Wikipedia.
The problem with most articles on wikipedia is that the bias is hard to spot unless you already know the subject/content inside out. With mainstream media it tends to be more obivous and there will be other articles with a different bias making it easy to spot contentious areas.
Wikipedia results in a mess by combining the two and removing the cues we all use to help us decide for ourselves. With wikipedia the cults form because if you have no interest or contention with the vast majority of articles except your own pet areas, you can work on a quid pro quo basis to either viewpoint where contention exists resulting in a mixed democratic consensus, which shouldn't occour in an encyclopedia or a democracy. Planes taking off from conveyor belts would be fascinating if wikipedia wasn't computer/geek based to see how it played out.
The article was comprehensive, but it reveals very little. A page on a pretty harmless and insignificant cult is sub-par because its main editor is part of the cult. But then most Wikipedia articles are sub-par, particularly the ones of minority interest - like those on harmless and insignificant cults. This is mainly because of the incoherence and lack of effort which is to be expected from a free and freely-editable encyclopaedia. Where there is effort, it's naturally going to be because the author has a vested interest in a lot of cases (either pro or con).
If you want people to put effort into diligent research who have no vested interest in the subject, guess what? They're going to want money. So if you want reliability, pay for it.
Good article! A few requests
1) Please work in an uncomplimentary comment about a leading libertarian, Macs, or Global Warming/Climate Change (either pro or con) into any lengthy article. Surly there's room for a little something, and that'd add an extra helping of wackos.
2) By the link to the author's name could the Reg add a little icon displaying the author's "Reader Cynicism" level? I think it'd be a big time saver. Commentors could save criticisms displaying only mild amounts of stupidity for hacks with low RC levels, where they'll actually have some effect. Criticisms of remarkable stupidity could be saved for the most cynical hacks.
3) A pop-up box that appears before going to the second page of a 3+ page article. It could say "Warning: Long article!" and offer the choices "I want to continue reading." and "Take me directly to the comments, I'd rather offer an uninformed opinion."
Some good ideas, Mike. We'll see about implementing them once the Paris Hilton deal's sorted.
Back next week. ®
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