Wolfram|Alpha: Systematic knowledge, immediately computable.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How about a knowledge / intelligence filter for forums, and the internet in general?

I read a recent blog entry titled 'Idiots', where the writer lamented the state of knowledge exhibited in 'technical' forum postings. I LOL'd.

The reality is, we as posters need to be 'self-regulating', lest we fall into the class of those covered in the amusing book 'The Cult of the Amateur' by Keen.

The framework I've come up with is:

1) The questioner: Anyone can ask any question, there are no 'dumb questions.'
2) The answerer: Incumbent on them to know what they're talking about.
3) The corrector: Corrects misinformed answers. Should really know what they're talking about.
4) The Uber-corrector: Corrects the correctors. Had better be an expert.
5) The debater: Will argue points with correctors and U-correctors. Had better be an expert, else be prepared to be made an Internet jackass.

There seems to be far too many of the debater, regurgitating wikipedia information without any real understanding of the issues involved, and seemingly unwilling to do the research and footwork required to understand deep technical issues.

We owe it to fellow readers, and ourselves, to be introspective and aware of our own limits of knowledge, and committed to do our homework to ensure proper understanding of things when offering our advice to technical questions.

I'd normally let a carcass lie, but this is a great example of what being made an Internet jackass feels like, we all have the power to control whether we're made to look like a fool in public, and as the adage goes, 'payback is a bitch'. The beauty of the web is the speed of information flow. The ugliness is the vast number of self-proclaimed 'experts' that haven't a clue. That what one posts is usually there for an eternity for the world to see should be a cautionary clue to these kinds of posters. This poster, having barraged a forum with 'technical' posts way beyond their pay grade, was banned after incessantly arguing nonsense. The reaction in a different forum speaks for itself. The author will be fortunate if they don't end up sued by the parent company and the admins they libel. For the record, I am of course not an employee of EA or DICE, nor benefit in any way from either company other than buying their games.



  1. Ahh - LOL. I post in those forums @EA, saw the stuff - too bad it got deleted by the mods, that thedemonslick dude (or girl - ) was a clown. I cracked at your ref to thedemonslick as thedemonsux. Maybe you were a bit hard on them - but they should have known better.

    I did the blog overall, BTW.

  2. Yes, it is a hilarious example in a way. A poster PM'd me with the link. I'm not sure I'll keep it up, kind of feels like kicking a dead cat. Albeit one that stunk up the place, had one eye, was deaf, and had to wear a kitty diaper. Seeing that post, a diagnoses of paranoid-delusional or some other psychosis for thedemonslick may be accurate, they really look like they need medical / psychiatric help. Or they're just an idiot. Tell you what: vote on it with comments or PMs!

  3. I vote keep it. You are dead on with this blog. That's why there are forums where everything you post is first approved, until you prove you're not an 'internet jackass' as you call them. I wish there were more forums like that. BTW - are you the Rob Cook that tops a Google search? I think so...
    Anyway, some cool info in your entries, I learned some stuff I was completely wrong on (and I thought I knew it all - ha ha): the windows 32-bit stuff was very educational.


  4. Take the reference to that idiot out. While it certainly does serve as an illustration of why we should think before we post, it cheapens your blog. You're just poking at the carcass of a dead, apparently mentally unstable, one-eyed cat. You seem better than that.

  5. Keep this here. I watched the fight unfold at the BFBC2 forum. I'm glad you called them out on their claim of having cisco certs - it is pretty clear they did not. People may not like the tone of your posts sometimes but you help to get rid of bozos that are full of it and themselves. It is too bad EA deleted most of that guys threads - it was a good example of an internet fool. You should be a moderator there :-)