Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,
Andrew
perspectivism

"metacrap": on the limitations of collective self-organization

Beautiful essay. Four stars:

A world of exhaustive, reliable metadata would be a utopia. It's also a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris and hysterically inflated market opportunities.

There are at least seven insurmountable obstacles between the world as we know it and meta-utopia.

The meta-utopia will never come into being, but metadata is often a good means of making rough assumptions about the information that floats through the Internet.

Certain kinds of implicit metadata is awfully useful, in fact. Google exploits metadata about the structure of the World Wide Web: by examining the number of links pointing at a page (and the number of links pointing at each linker), Google can derive statistics about the number of Web-authors who believe that that page is important enough to link to, and hence make extremely reliable guesses about how reputable the information on that page is.

This sort of observational metadata is far more reliable than the stuff that human beings create for the purposes of having their documents found. It cuts through the marketing bullshit, the self-delusion, and the vocabulary collisions.
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