Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Right to be forgotten & trolls & hobbits & elves

A two-part blog today

1. Right to be forgotten.
This is a very bad phrase. The right should be to not be reminded (as much).
The false dichotomy is just that - the binary decision between "remember and not remember".
Neither humans nor technology remember things accurately.

a) Every encoding is a decoding (Maurice Zapp, of Euphoric State University, in David Lodge's fictional Small World) - recall is revisionist for humans. It is also revisionist in technology - you may decide to do an audit (who read the file, when ? these are often recorded or appended to meta data) - where were the people looking at the data? why. Should we sort the results of a search to show more recently accessed data higher? this will affect others. Just as it does with your own grey matter!
b) We need to forget things - its part of coping with trauma, even just at the level of embarassment
c) We evolve (and we all evolve) so stuff we did that they agreed with then, we and they may not agree with anymore. Why should we be faulted now for what was ok back then?

Delete, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Better solutions - social nets should use interaction/activity based weights to decide what is recalled easily - stuff should fade - this copes with public figures naturally (as they interact with world but about their public duties, not their private lives) as well as the private individual online - if I havn't seen you for 25 years, I won't naturally recal lstuff about you - if you show up asking mefor a reference, maybe some stuff will come "flooding back" - this maps also to natural cognitive resource limits that are known about in humans, and implements a nice form of relevance filtering easily. THis also implements "unfriending without tears" on online social media - you just ddidn't interact with someone (like or mention or comment on their timeline) so they slowly fade from memory - many systems already are implementing things a bit like this, but for somewhat misguided reasons - lets fix it - its easy!

2. Trolls
There's a saying from 30 years or more of newsgroups (Usenet, if you go back that far):
"Don't feed the trolls"

So trolling is getting worse - this is not surprising - there's more people in the hills (which have eyes) than ever. These people don't know from Adam (and they are probably eating the apple). Why do they troll - to share in your glory? who knows....but they can because of what I might call Internet Induced Empathic Disorder - they are alienated, and they don't know you are a person - many of them do stuff they wouldn't dream of doing in the same room as you - this is well known. Its worse where there are too many terrible cultural examples (see the Russian Social Media abuse below, but nearer to home, see BBC's :Have your say" comments  or Youtube's hilarious children from hell type comments on videos there (remindes me of the evil devils on rollerblades in the hilarious film, Dogma!)

How to fix? Engage or Ignore? I don't believe the troll's target is the right person - we need to have a social response - peer pressure - show the troll where they sit, surrounded by hobbits and wizards (and elves) - that'll wake them up, or else turn them to stone, come sunrise.

Protest 2.0 - networked negoative consolidation

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home