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5797 posts

Uber Geek
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Topic # 230757 12-Mar-2018 11:15
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Here's an interesting article in Wired





When Russia manipulates elections via Facebook, or ISIS recruits followers on Twitter, or racist landlords deny rentals to blacks and then offer them to whites through Airbnb, commentators and companies describe these activities as “manipulation” or “abuse” of today’s ubiquitous websites and apps. The impulse is to portray this odious behavior as a strange, unpredictable, and peripheral contortion of the platforms.


But it’s not. It’s simply using those platforms as designed.


...these are core features of the technologies being used by a few bad actors for some bad ends, these challenges ultimately aren’t susceptible to technical solutions alone. Addressing them ultimately demands “turning off”—or making unavailable—core product features for users abhorrent enough not to deserve access to them. Figuring out which users fall into that category is a value judgment—the type of value judgment that the libertarian ethos of tech companies has left them very reluctant to make.



This lead me to re-read a definition of a "Social Mess" as a type of "Wicked Problem" :


"Complexity—systems of systems—is among the factors that makes Social Messes so resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution" According to Horn, the defining characteristics of a social mess are:



  1. No unique "correct" view of the problem;
  2. Different views of the problem and contradictory solutions;
  3. Most problems are connected to other problems;
  4. Data are often uncertain or missing;
  5. Multiple value conflicts;
  6. Ideological and cultural constraints;
  7. Political constraints;
  8. Economic constraints;
  9. Often a-logical or illogical or multi-valued thinking;
  10. Numerous possible intervention points;
  11. Consequences difficult to imagine;
  12. Considerable uncertainty, ambiguity;
  13. Great resistance to change; and,
  14. Problem solver(s) out of contact with the problems and potential solutions.


This list was put together in 2007.


The Wired article refers mainly to political manipulation - I was going to post this in the Politics forum, but the definitions seem to describe quite well all of the "issues" with social media platforms, so I thought this might be a more appropriate place to post it.

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204 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1973102 12-Mar-2018 12:00
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Those 14 characteristics describe my typical work day pretty accurately.

3951 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1973163 12-Mar-2018 13:04
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Social media can easily be dominated by a mob.  If you have sufficient resources you can start your own mob and co-opt others (with and without their knowledge).  I suspect this is easier to do on issues where there is more polarisation.


There are solutions, but they would require the social media companies to moderate and they simply can't afford to do that.



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5797 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2851

  Reply # 1973225 12-Mar-2018 14:00
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Those 14 characteristics describe my typical work day pretty accurately.



Convert the so last-century bullet point list into a coloured infographic that everybody can pretend to understand, you'll either get promoted to new levels of incompetence or find a lucrative career as a consultant.

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