Stemming A Torrent Of Garbage

I admit to membership to seven LinkedIn groups, three of which I have editorial duties in, but there are forty others I have joined for various networking reasons. I just took a tour of them, and I dug up this image as representative of the overall quality I see.

Your Typical LinkedIn Group Content

Your Typical LinkedIn Group Content

I police Center for the study of Intelligence Operations and I have been slowly turning the screws since I gained editorial duties. Today I removed a wholly off topic “Ten Ways To Massage Your Cat” type post, doing so without comment, but then I found something else to dislike. The title of the piece passed initial muster, but inside there was a snide caricature of our vice president, some snide, slanted ‘news’, and some snide innuendo about the legitimacy of the Obama administration. I managed to not be snide in the note I sent to the poster, but I got … you guessed it … a snide response back.

A review of some of the other ‘security’ groups, some of which have tens of thousands of members, revealed equally serious problems. A top influencer in one group was posting content from Alex Jones’ Infowars and a John Birch Society conspiracy site that focuses on the Federal Reserve. Less notable but equally corrosive are the thinly disguised editorial from fringe right wing operations that you might take as a consensus, based on article volume.

The environment isn’t as ridiculously toxic as the Twitter free for all. I have come across one individual who seemed to be mentally ill and in a perpetual rage; one complaint to a group administrator and he’s still around, but he steers a wide path around me. Professional decorum is in effect for almost all interactions, and where it’s not group administrators and LinkedIn safety quickly step in and deal with behavior problems.

Where is all this headed?

Things that are nominally meant to be tied to objective reality are full of fluff and contaminated with views so skewed they could rightly be called superstition. You can’t read the crapflood; even scanning it is a cognitive hazard.

The only thing I can offer for solving the larger problem is having a go at solving the smaller problem that exists where I can get at it. Some diversity of LinkedIn groups is good, and some diversity of curators are also of use; no one can stay on top of it all. The problem I see today is that we have an excess of low value content keepers.

The five types of curators are in some sense a hierarchy. An aggregator produces the highest volume of output and the lowest, perhaps even negative value of content. Rather than defining a topic and saving time, they compel one to absorb information that is repetitive, perhaps incorrect, and that may be intentional.

When I built Progressive Congress News back in 2010, it was created as a distiller and elevator focused on the needs of a very select group – Congressional staff.

Today I am an odd sort of mashers – not at all multimedia, but no ethnolinguistic map is safe when I am on the prowl. I am becoming a chronologist, a word that I feel is a better fit than the term ‘historian’. History is in the past, it’s an academic pursuit, and not a bit technical. The chronologist works with what was, what is, what may be, and applies technical methods where and when they are suitable.

I have read the CIA Occasional Papers, monographs on the state of sense-making at the highest levels, and I was very taken with Rethinking “Alternative Analysis” To Address Transnational Threats. That’s a fancy spook title for applying mindfulness to one’s daily tasks – something I have long done. The Attention Doesn’t Scale whitepaper led me to the creation of that one page Curator’s Characteristics document.

The fundamental definitions in these papers are sound; my contribution will be as it was with PCN – an implementation based on the principles that have already been described.

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One thought on “Stemming A Torrent Of Garbage

  1. Pingback: A Cognitive Prosthetic | Neal Rauhauser

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