January 11, 2006

The Self-Deluding Bogosphere

Memo to sociologists: Events like the Declan McCullagh E-annoyance are pure fodder for analytic papers. Note there's a single source, almost like a radioactive tracer, and you can track how the misconceptions propagate.

Some possible questions (not phrased in a neutral manner!):

How much skepticism is shown?

How willing are blog A-listers to update posts to reflect possibly being taken?

Is it futile to make corrections in comments, since virtually nobody reads them?

Does a journalist or A-lister need to be concerned about dishonest hype, if he or she appeals to the core red-meat audience?


[I think the way the "polarization" argument is framed does a great disservice - many people know the opposing arguments, they just don't care :-(]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on January 11, 2006 10:58 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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If "bogosphere" is a typo, it's a good one: Keep it.

I've gotten a couple of emails pointing me to McC's piece and wanting my take. My response has been to tell them to go read Infothought on the matter...and that my own initial take had been, "Oh, Declan's at it again." (I'm as paranoid as the next--oh, no, they're after me--but this one just didn't smell right. Any more than the "Mao" dustup a while back that didn't actually happen.)

Within my little corner of the net mediasphere, I wss favorably impressed by the speed and extent to which most of those who'd signed on for the "Mao" thing issued retractions--and not in comments. But that's my little corner. I believe that you and your colleague at Civilities have adequately demonstrated that this isn't always the case.

As for doing a retraction in comments: Well, yes. Unless you have an unusually conversational blog (which I apparently do), comment readership is likely to be a tiny fraction of primary readership--and it's going to be a fraction even for conversation-heavy blogs. If you screwed up, the correction belongs in a new post or in an addition to the original post. (I like to retain original versions, but find nothing wrong in using strikeout to show where I've screwed up, along with a correction.) As with all noble principals, I certainly won't claim I always follow this Best Practice, but that's the intention.

Then there are certain pundits who simply won't admit they ever were wrong. They were "questioning." (Wholly different situation, to be sure.)

Posted by: walt at January 12, 2006 11:41 AM