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Archive for June 2005

Bram Cohen on Slashdot

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While skimming through Bram Cohen‘s comments about Avalanche on his blog, I came across his views on Slashdot discussions.

“I’ve generally avoided slashdot discussion, due to the poor quality of discussion there.The other day I fiddled with it a bit, and set the value for ‘funny’ to be -4, the minimum to display to 3, and display to nested, and suddenly the quality of discussion is altogether more reasonable.
This presents a bit of a theoretical problem. I’ve long held the opinion that in trust metrics someone else’s positive cert shouldn’t be counted as a negative cert, because it’s trivially gameable, and yet here it is, exactly that technique is working quite well. I’m not sure what to make of it.”

Some discussion followed this entry:

Uke : “funny” isn’t positive or negative–it’s a dimension. (well, at least one dimension.)if you admit the possibility that opinions could be negatively correlated, then you get a lot better results from reputation systems when you reliably disagree with someone!
Bram: I might buy that if I didn’t like things which are funny. I do like things which are funny, the problem is that the vast bulk of things labelled ‘funny’ on slashdot aren’t funny at all, they’re obnoxious.
Uke : That’s why I said that it was at least one dimension. On slashdot, “funny” maps to a positive opinion for some people, and a negative one for some other people. “Funny” has no universal meaning on slashdot, just like it has no universal meaning anywhere else in the realm of human language.

My views; well sometimes what modded “funny” might not funny at all, but then there is meta moderation, which eventually eliminates bad/incompetent moderators. Isn’t it here even the wiki concept shares grounds with this. The system eventually corrects itself (or gets extinct, I must add). And obvious but obligatory, “funny” is an individual perception. You can’t lay all the reliability on the moderation system, as it’ll always have all the shortcomings of a democratic system(read anonymous moderation, in this case). IMDb‘s rating system is much more flawed in that sense, and no-one should take it as the ultimate truth, yet these scores do give a general idea of things.
Perhaps, a more reliable system would be weighted moderation, everyone who rates has a weight associated with him/her (Google page rank?), or even custom weights assigned by the reader. Would it be scalable? Yes! certainly.


Written by Brajesh

June 21, 2005 at 12:51 am

Posted in Hax0r, P2P, Slashdot

Really Simple Syndication

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I heard of this term almost 4 years back for the first time. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has evolved leaps and bounds in a very short period.

What is RSS? “Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a lightweight XML format designed for sharing headlines and other Web content. Think of it as a distributable “What’s New” for your site. Originated by UserLand in 1997 and subsequently used by Netscape to fill channels for Netcenter, RSS has evolved into a popular means of sharing content between sites (including the BBC, CNET, CNN, Disney, Forbes, Motley Fool, Wired, Red Herring, Salon, Slashdot, ZDNet, and more). RSS solves myriad problems webmasters commonly face, such as increasing traffic, and gathering and distributing news. RSS can also be the basis for additional content distribution services.” – Source

I have become so used to it now, that sometimes I wonder what would I do without it. Yahoo! provides a pretty usable RSS aggregator with MyYahoo. But I prefer a destop based aggregator viz. Sauce Reader. Its free for personal use, though still in beta (every other product is running in perpetual beta these days). The earlier version 1.1 was on .net plateform, but synop decided to shift away from .net for some performance issues. I still rate version 1.1 above 2.0 in some respects, perticularily quick link downloads, though there were some memory issues with .net.
Sauce reader feed says – “Sauce Reader 2.0 is a complete rewrite and no longer requires the .NET framework. Using .NET for Sauce Reader v1 we were never able to achieve the level of performance we considered appropriate for a heavily used productivity application. .NET is a compelling and powerful platform, but currently unsuitable for widely adopted client side applications.”

Well, I disagree…but then, whatever.

Written by Brajesh

June 4, 2005 at 2:37 am

Posted in RSS