We've heard an unsettling rumor today from an anonymous tipster that longtime game reviewer Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot has been let go. That wouldn't necessarily be newsworthy, but the conditions under which he was allegedly dismissed were. According to the source, Gerstmann was fired "on the spot" due to advertiser pressure for his review of Eidos' Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. A visit to Gamespot shows that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game has taken over the site very prominently, with backgrounds and multiple banner ads all pitching Kane & Lynch. Allegedly, publisher Eidos "took issue with the review and threatened to pull its ad campaign."
The registry tried to address these concerns. You might argue whether these were valid concerns to begin with, but the Windows NT folks sure thought they were.
|I am a hater of the windows registry, but have to give him credit for the best defense of it i've seen. On the other hand.. this really seems to be advocating for registry vs. HORRIBLE OLD WINDOWS-INI FILE FORMAT.|
The real argument should be registry vs. a very well thought out config file format.
|note: i don't want this thread to turn into an anti-apple fest, i'm just responding to the oddness of this one particular commercial which i think is different from the other mac-vs-pc ads, which make fun of windows but while playing up the beneficial comparison to apple features, something notably lacking from this commercial. furthermore, i'm not complaining that the add is "unfair" -- i'm just struct by it's unusualness.|
One of the things that I tell people who want to build an audience for their website is that they have to figure out a way to continually reward the people they recruit. The short story is, it is not very important what your reward is - it could be points, stickers or a nice warm feeling in your belly - as long as it feels rewarding to the members to do something that you want them to do.
I will below provide the story of Consumating’s ill-fated point system as a sort of counter-example to how you should design your own. We built a point system into Consumating because we thought giving direct feedback to people about their conduct on the site would encourage them to be nice to one another - you get a thumbs up when you are nice (treat!), and a thumbs down when you are a douche (electric shock!). It worked dramatically well in that aspect, and gave our members everything they needed to police themselves, punish trolls, and create a vibrant and unique culture. In virtually all other aspects, however, it caused serious problems.
The primary problem with Consumating points was that they did not actually give incentive to the members to do anything valuable.
Collective problem solving involves iterated innovation and selection of solutions. In his experiment, Matt decoupled the two by ensuring that the right solution was injected into the pool of solutions that group considered and yet he repeatedly observed that the group rejected the right solution. Apparently, the group evaluation of ideas was seriously biased towards accepting the inferior ideas of the senior members at the expense of other ideas, i.e. the senior status of the idea source overweighted the intrinsic merits of the idea. This is an example of subjective selectionist bias. Another common type of bias is temporal bias. For example, solutions proposed earlier can be preferred to solutions proposed later (or the other way around).
We can see these sources of bias working in many “collective intelligence” web 2.0 platforms, where people are supposed to select the fittest among several versions of the content based on the merit of the content. However, in reality, the selection is heavily biased by other factors that has little to do with the quality of the content.
I put out a new product a couple of weeks ago. This new product has so far won 16 different awards and recommendations from software download sites. Some of them even emailed me messages of encouragement such as “Great job, we’re really impressed!”. I should be delighted at this recognition of the quality of my software, except that the ’software’ doesn’t even run.
Is there a new blogger scandal brewing? Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks seems to think so. Allen takes issue with the new video blog Webb Alert (which mentioned Read/WriteWeb today), saying that the blog doesn't disclose its connection with advertising network Federated Media (which hosts it and sells advertising for it) and suspects that the whole thing may be an elaborate scheme to push traffic to FM clients (and notes that FM clients have been gushing over the show in return for the disproportionate links they get).
Disclosure is a tricky business and as a practice is still ill-defined even in the realm of traditional journalism. The general idea is that anything that might be seen as a potential conflict of interest between a writer and the subject of his story should be disclosed to the reader.
Disclosure is necessary, however, and at times I think that maybe it is the overzealous trend toward complete and utter transparency offered by bloggers that makes blogs so attractive to readers. So when should you disclose?
- Financial association -- I don't mean advertising, which is obvious, but less clear affiliations such as investments, ownership, or partial-ownership. For example, WIRED should mention they own Reddit when they write about the company. (Of course, you might not always even know when you're investing in a company.)
- Employment -- If you are paid by a company you are writing about as an employee, contractor, or consultant, you should disclose that.
- Competition -- If you are writing specifically about a direct competitor to a company you are involved with in an aforementioned manner, especially if you’re writing in a negative way, it is probably best to disclose it. For example, WIRED should disclose that they own Reddit whenever they write about Digg.
- Personal involvement - This is by far the trickiest. As I illustrated before, personal or emotional involvement with stories can get complicated and, well, personal. I don't think it always needs to be disclosed. For example, I don't feel the need to disclose my political views whenever I write about politics. However, if I'm reviewing a company run by a close friend, I would disclose that fact or pass the story to a writer with less emotional involvement.
Donations play a crucial role in supporting Free and Open Source Software projects. At times readers will write in to share their positive experience with a utility or program or a distribution that I have written about. Now don't confuse them with your average technical-bent-of-mind Linux user. These are accountants, home-office businessman, and even carpenters and plumbers, who've saved a lot of money thanks to open source software. And they have one question in mind -- how do I help the person behind the program?
This month, Packt columnist and open source enthusiast Mayank Sharma explores the economics behind open source projects, what they do with their donations and how crucial they can be to their future.
|ps. this might be a good time to remind you readers of the article I wrote about donationware and the creation of DonationCoder.com:|
"When Do Users Donate? Experiments with Donationware: Ethical Software, Work Equalization, Temporary Licenses, Collective Bargaining, and Microdonations"
I have always enjoyed playing video games with my brothers. We fought each other over who gets to use the computer next. Eventually, we had new computers replace old, and we each had a machine to ourselves. Even though I was the oldest, the computers were the boys' endeavors, and I was stuck with the hand-me-down of the hand-me-downs. And when they both left for college, I had the same tattered and torn computer, only even more out-of-date.
I guess I didn't really mind, but my family took notice, and one Christmas I got upgrades. A new case, a new hard drive--and by the time it was all unwrapped, I had a completely new computer!--all in separate parts. This was orchestrated by my best friend, who then walked me through assembling and setting up my amazing, tiny (it's the size of a shoe box) computer. He didn't do any of the work, since he knew I liked to do things at least once by myself. It was terrific, and once again, I had to fight my brothers over who got to use it first. This time, I had the upper hand. This computer was all mine.
This taught me how easy it is to do, and proved to me that I could handle the upgrades from then on out. I mean, I built the thing myself. Everything else is just a walk in the park.
Truthfully, it's not too hard to build a computer by yourself. It saves a lot of money over buying one off the shelf, and it's a lot of fun to do. Once you're done, you'll know exactly how your computer is configured and what hardware you've got, because you picked out the parts yourself.
In the world of hackers, the kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. This guide will teach you how to ask questions in a way more likely to get you a satisfactory answer.
Now that use of open source has become widespread, you can often get as good answers from other, more experienced users as from hackers. This is a Good Thing; users tend to be just a little bit more tolerant of the kind of failures newbies often have. Still, treating experienced users like hackers in the ways we recommend here will generally be the most effective way to get useful answers out of them, too.
The first thing to understand is that hackers actually like hard problems and good, thought-provoking questions about them. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here. If you give us an interesting question to chew on we'll be grateful to you; good questions are a stimulus and a gift. Good questions help us develop our understanding, and often reveal problems we might not have noticed or thought about otherwise. Among hackers, “Good question!” is a strong and sincere compliment.
I'll start at the beginning. Thirty days ago I bought a 15" Macbook Pro (Santa Rosa). I have been interested in learning the Mac OS for awhile, and the only way I could really do it would be forcing myself to use it on a daily basis. So I sold my 17" Dell Inspiron e1705 and went all Mac.
I still use PC's on a daily basis at work and to run certain aspects of my life, such as recording my podcast, running my webserver, etc.
The following is a real-life, honest listing of likes and dislikes comparing Windows Vista to Mac OS X.
NEW YORK CITY has decided to offer cash rewards to some students based on their attendance records and exam performance. Diligent, high-achieving seventh graders will be able to earn up to $500 in a year. The plan is the brainchild of Roland G. Fryer, an economist who has been appointed as “chief equality officer” of the city’s Department of Education.
The assumption that underlies the project is simple: people respond to incentives. If you want people to do something, you have to make it worth their while. This assumption drives virtually all of economic theory.
Sure, there are already many rewards in learning: gaining understanding (of yourself and others), having mysterious or unfamiliar aspects of the world opened up to you, demonstrating mastery, satisfying curiosity, inhabiting imaginary worlds created by others, and so on. Learning is also the route to more prosaic rewards, like getting into good colleges and getting good jobs. But these rewards are not doing the job. If they were, children would be doing better in school.
The logic of the plan reveals a second assumption that economists make: the more motives the better. Give people two reasons to do something, the thinking goes, and they will be more likely to do it, and they’ll do it better, than if they have only one. Providing some cash won’t disturb the other rewards of learning, rewards that are intrinsic to the process itself. They will only provide a little boost. Mr. Fryer’s reward scheme is intended to add incentives to the ones that already exist.
Unfortunately, these assumptions that economists make about human motivation, though intuitive and straightforward, are false. In particular, the idea that adding motives always helps is false. There are circumstances in which adding an incentive competes with other motives and diminishes their impact. Psychologists have known this for more than 30 years.
In one experiment, nursery school children were given the opportunity to draw with special markers. After playing, some of the children were given “good player” awards and others were not. Some time later, the markers were reintroduced to the classroom. The researchers kept track of which children used the markers, and they collected the pictures that had been drawn. The youngsters given awards were less likely to draw at all, and drew worse pictures, than those who were not given the awards.
Why did this happen? Children draw because drawing is fun and because it leads to a result: a picture. The rewards of drawing are intrinsic to the activity itself. The “good player” award gives children another reason to draw: to earn a reward. And it matters — children want recognition. But the recognition undermines the fun, so that later, in the absence of a chance to earn an award, the children aren’t interested in drawing...
|I think some take home messages for donationware in general and DC specifically is:|
"Does negative press make you Sicko?" asked Google health account planner Lauren Turner. She was referring to the new documentary by left wing demagogue Michael Moore about the US health provision.
Turner used the corporate blog to condemn his use of "isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst". Why couldn't the media concentrate on the positive aspects of the system such as 44m uninsured Americans er, "the industry's numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts."
This segues neatly into a plug for Google's core business, as she goes on to explain:
Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through "Get the Facts" or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?
We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek.
"Advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue," she urged.
|I need to clarify something -- i shouldn't pick on google.|
google is probably the most ethical, most interesting, and most technically exciting mega corporation, whose entire business model centers around dominating the web and making trillions of dollars by putting their advertising on everything (sounds sarcastic but i'm serious).
If we look at content management functionality as a continuum, there’s a graduated scale between the two. On the one side, you have something simple — an “articles” table with a couple of password-protected pages to update it. On the other side, you have a commercial CMS that you paid $50K for with all the bells and whistles. Specifically, how are the two different?
This editorial is an experiment. It was originally written by Radu-Cristian Fotescu for his blog, but he offered us the chance to publish it here on The Jem Report as well. It is extremely long, and divided up into separate pages, which is something I don't usually do with articles. So the format in which this is published is the first experiment. The second experiment is a matter of this article's content. I don't agree with everything Radu-Cristian says in his article, but I very much agree with what he is doing, which is to take a brutally honest look at the failures of the open source community and demand that we begin to recognize them instead of continuing to ignore the parts that aren't working correctly. This is the first step in fixing some of the problems that frustrate us all as GNU/Linux and *BSD users. Maybe it's time for a great re-examination of our processes and attitudes, and think about what needs to be done to create great software instead of continuing to perpetuate old mistakes on the basis that tradition, politics, rhetoric, and dogma are more important than critical thinking.
A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead. I was talking to a young startup founder about how Google was different from Yahoo. I said that Yahoo had been warped from the start by their fear of Microsoft. That was why they'd positioned themselves as a "media company" instead of a technology company. Then I looked at his face and realized he didn't understand...
...A new story about a blog dedicated to showing photographs of crowds had just gotten enough diggs to make the "popular" list on the tech/design page, and several people were commenting on it.
"How the hell did this get to the front page?" Pawperso wondered.
I can tell you exactly how a pointless blog full of poorly written, incoherent commentary made it to the front page on Digg. I paid people to do it. What's more, my bought votes lured honest Diggers to vote for it too. All told, I wound up with a "popular" story that earned 124 diggs -- more than half of them unpaid. I also had 29 (unpaid) comments, 12 of which were positive...
We’ve all gone to school on the moderation and reputation systems of Slashdot and eBay. In those cases, their growing popularity in the period after their respective launches led to a tragedy of the commons, where open access plus incentives led to nearly constant attack by people wanting to game the system, whether to gain attention for themselves or their point of view in the case of Slashdot, or to defraud other users, as with eBay.
The traditional response to these problems would have been to hire editors or other functionaries to police the system for abuse, in order to stem the damage and to assure ordinary users you were working on their behalf. That strategy, however, would fail at the scale and degree of openness at which those services function. The Slashdot FAQ tells the story of trying to police the comments with moderators chosen from among the userbase, first 25 of them and later 400. Like the Charge of the Light Brigade, however, even hundreds of committed individuals were just cannon fodder, given the size of the problem. The very presence of effective moderators made the problem worse over time. In a process analogous to more roads creating more traffic, the improved moderation saved the site from drowning in noise, so more users joined, but this increase actually made policing the site harder, eventually breaking the very system that made the growth possible in the first place.