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Evanescence of information (was Re: Going NOMAIL: Honeymoon)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 14:19

On Tue, 1 Jul 2008 12:54:01 +0200, Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Hi! > > David J. Peterson writes: > [...] > > > I think the web and everything else we've got going > > is bring us closer to a time where nothing will be lost, > > unless something truly catastrophic happens. > >... > > Well, I fear that the move from mailing lists to fora was a bit > dangerous for that reason: information vanishes, because fora often > have no archives and even erase older posts (why?) We want good > archives, I think, and few fora provide it today, and some are not > even indexed in search engines. Of course, Conlang-L suffered some > loss, too. But the history of the ZBB is simply gone, is it not?
Yes. With the exception of the "L&L Museum" subforum, everything on the ZBB disappears after a while - a short while in "Ephemera", a somewhat longer while in the other subfora. This is one reason why I prefer the CONLANG list over the ZBB. The other reason is that people here act much more maturely than over there, which may have to do with the persistence of CONLANG and the evanescence of the ZBB, though: here, all stuff you will eventually regret will last at least several years, while on the ZBB, it will vanish soon.
> Another thing I fear is that when there will be even more information, > it becomes even more hard to search. I often find myself searching > for a topic that cannot easily be 'buzzwordized' for a search engine > to find good results. > > For example when I search for a problem with my computer. Try > searching for 'linux hard disk slow' or something like that. > Completely futile. It often seems like I am the only person who has > that bug, because I either get 1 million irrelevant hits (of course, I > did not check all manually) or none at all or exclusively commercial > sites wanting to sell be X when I had a problem with X. Lately, it > was even hard to find out whether some piece of hardware was supported > by linux drivers. That should be really trivial to find, but it was > not at all trivial: in compatibility lists, about 99% of all hardware > is missing, even very common hardware. The current situation is just > awful.
It is. Commerce is one problem: instead of the information you want, you get adverts of companies who want to sell you something - which often has nothing to do with what you are searching for. Another problem are words with multiple meanings. It is especially bad when your search term turns out to be homonymous with something else very common, or even a stop word: try searching for posts on Danny Wier's Tech conlang in the CONLANG list archive - you get thousands of posts with the "TECH:" tag in the subject line.
> So we need much better search engines, otherwise the information will > be lost in the infinity of informaton, which is as bad as being > totally gone. I have no idea how to improve search engines, actually, > because they'd need AI to really understand what I want. AI has not > been fully functional so far, so maybe only humans can index > information properly for humans to find, which means that a lot of > information will be lost anyway, because there are no resources for > indexing it.
Yes. We need better search engines, but that's a thorny AI problem, and one of little commercial interest. The big player in the search engine market are more interested in user profiles and whatever else helps them getting advertisements down the users' throats. That's where the money lies. I once thought I had an idea for a qualitatively better search engine and made it the subject of my PhD thesis - but it turned out that my idea was not really that brilliant (I had fallen victim to what was essentially a variant of the philosophical language fallacy), and I had to abandon the project because things turned out to be way more difficult than they seemed to be. And while we are at evanescence of information: Langmaker seems to have died once again. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf


And Rosta <and.rosta@...>