Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

5Mar/04Off

Crime Pays When Pigs Die

This Wired article has been getting a lot of play at least on the larger news sites like Slashdot. Amazingly, the /.ers equated this with plagiarism which is very creative semantic juggling coming from that site in particular where people compete to get stories into consideration and whine about having their submissions rejected while another submission of the exact same story is added to the main index. I guess it's only permissible to be sloppy and stupid when OSDN is footing the bill.

Anyway, the original Wired article, thankfully, doesn't throw around terms like plagiarism (which is really the wrong term to apply in this instance) and if you look at the crawl data they're talking about, you might come to the same conclusion that I did: none of the alleged memes listed there is particularly original and doesn't exactly come from a source that is going to whine about receiving credit for the initial idea. The thing that everyone (with the exception of people who actually write weblogs) seems to be so bent out of shape over is the lack of linking to the source of the link. Sigh. Again, coming from Slashdot, this is more than a little suspect since the people who get paid to run the pigsty can't be bothered to spellcheck the items others have submitted before posting them on the front page.

On a side note of sorts: I'd really love to set up a project that examines the burden of bandwidth that Slashdot dumps on the sites it links. It would be interesting to figure out exactly how much real money it costs to pay for each link that appears on the front page of Slashdot. It would be pretty easy to equate to a sort of Tragedy of the Commons situation because I'll be damned if I can come up with a single instance of Slashdot giving anything back to the community it sucks dry.

Ugh. Take it easy on me if any of the above is less coherent than usual. I took the day off from work for a little recovery and I feel like I watched the entire day whiz by me while I watched through a sheet of gauze.

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  1. Yeah, calling this plagiarism really misses the point… you’d think techies would be interested in learning about how memes percolate through the culture (online, anyway) but what are you going to do?

  2. I really do think that this sort of mapping was the intent of the study. They’ve gotta start thinking about meme networks the same way that DARPA thought about networks: they’ll get through somehow through redundancy even if nodes are severed.

    Thanks for bringing that up, though, in all of my knee-jerk angst spasms I’d entirely forgotten that the original idea behind the whole thing was a rather cool one.


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