08-10-09 - Information Sharing

I'm really quite upset by all the new ways of "sharing information" that are really just information obfuscation.

The thing that makes me so upset about Twitter is that I know interesting people who are posting interesting things on twitter - but it's just a shitty unsearchable, unclarified version of what they should be writing. If you have a thought that's worth sharing, it's worth taking a second to flesh it out and write it in at least semi-proper sentences.

Everything you spew into the interent is getting recorded forever and adding to our pile of information overload. Take a second, make it worth everyone's time to read.

Part of the problem is everyone jumps on new tech trends even when there's no need to. Text is a wonderful thing. It's searchable, random access, printable, I can snip out the bits I want to save or re-read.

I don't even like audio/video for information presentation. I've been meaning to watch Casey's video on GFK for like two years now, but I have to actually sit and watch it for AN HOUR. One of the amazing wonderful things about this great technology called "text" is that you can skim past the parts that are boring and that you already know, and then when you get to something tricky you can stick on it for a while or read it over and over, etc. Text is user-pace-controlled which is wonderful. Text is curteous to the client. Text compliments the intelligent of the client, it lets them make their own decision about they consume the information.

Slides of course are fucking garbage. It's hardly even worth downloading them; hell even going to talks at conferences is of very limited value. It's almost always better to just read a paper if there is one. In fact, conferences would be a hell of a lot better if they published the papers first and everyone read them *before* the conference, and then you could have a Q & A with the author about topics that are beyond what's in the paper, instead of just having them stand there are tell you about key points in the paper.

Today, it's Mike Acton's sketches on concurrency that are making me mad. It looks like there's some interesting stuff in there, but WTF Mike, this is like a Andy-Kaufman-esque performance piece indicting the ridiculousness of modern internet information sharing techniques.

I think in many ways the internet would be a better place if it was still plain text. Yes I am a luddite.


Nick said...

Impatient folks like me watch/listen at 2x or faster. Right click in windows media player and look for an "Enhancements" menu... In quicktime hit control+K. In videolan it's probably ctrl++ [or a little menu at the bottom of the window], you'll also want to find the option to not alter the pitch in VLC (sorry, I forget where)

cbloom said...

I've got this new amazing information sharing technology where you can write notes directly on it, jump around to any point you want, make bookmarks, change speed, even go backwards!

It's called fucking text!

Sam said...

I agree about those Mike Acton "sketches". There looks to be some useful info in there but at work we have these discussions about what he really means because we can't fucking figure it out, because it's all so absurdly written!

cbloom said...

You should just send him a photograph of your middle finger and see if he can figure out what you meant by that.

macton said...

@Sam Well, if you guys are really interested in knowing what I mean by something, you're welcome to ask. I think I put my email address in there. Plus, I'm not all that hard to find. :) At the same time, the fact that you are discussing these things at work with your peers is really all I want anyway. With these in particular, the goal is *always* just to get people to think about the subject - not to provide a specific solution. As Charles points out, there are better formats for that.

@cbloom You should've suggested a middle finger in ascii art, I think. I've seen some particularly good ones. And it takes less bandwidth. :)

Sam said...

Yeah - we already think about a lot of the issues you talk about anyway. We're quite a low level studio in some ways (having done mostly console games). It's just sometimes you write something and I think "I wish he'd elaborate on that point"! :)

Sam said...

..and I just noticed that you did post a clarification on the point I was particularly wondering about (the supposed LHS on that crazy WhichSide function) :)

nothings said...

Yeah, Maciej Ceglowski had a good rant about this 5 years ago:


The transcription of the mp3 is this: http://idlewords.com/audio-manifesto.txt

nothings said...

If you read the transcript, though, you miss the joke of him spelling out the URLs character by character.

kim said...

>If you have a thought that's worth sharing, it's worth taking a second to flesh it out and write it in at least semi-proper sentences.

A-fucking-men. Fuck Twitter.

cbloom said...

That audio manifesto is gold jerry, gold.

Tom said...

See also http://www.bileblog.org/2005/02/poocasting/.

old rants