Information: From Not Enough to Too Much

truthingtotruth

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So what is the solution to having too much?

Or maybe you think there is no problem that requires a solution?

Note #1: I ran the topic title through the standard Google search engine and viewed pages 1, 10, 5 in that order and saw some entries about companies and clients not processing information in a proper manner. I saw grammar related entries.

Then I specified the results spit out only pdf formats (file type setting) and only saw one .edu and others that also seemed focused on ESL sorts of stuff. I stopped the search after those attempts.

Note #2: I used the search engine here and this resulted:

< < < Copy Starts > > >
Search results for query: too much information
The following words were not included in your search because they are too short, too long, or too common: too, much
< < < Copy Ends > > >
 

Pete

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I'm not sure but I think this is in the territory of looking for a technical solution to an at least partially social problem.

Humanity is quite good at sharing knowledge. Places like TAZ demonstrate this. Places like StackOverflow also demonstrate this.

But there are places that clone these things - I've seen entire copies of StackOverflow's content presented with a different theme and strewn with ads that, somehow, gets near the top in Google and dilutes any value because it's duplicating what content there is, because there is money in it.

I think what we need is a toolkit that can help us sort and find things but is not a secondary business of selling people ads (or, more accurately, not in the primary business of selling people ads, for which a search service is merely the conduit and thus, entirely secondary). I think we need tools that help us find things but without being skewed by money, both in terms of supply and demand for information.

Such a thing is, of course, impossible in our current world model, but there you go.
 

Joel R

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When you don't have enough information, that can be easily overcome with money and time.

Having too much information is the harder problem. You need to be able to organize, search, surface, and highlight the best content or the most appropriate content.
 

Nev_Dull

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Most appropriate according to whom?
This is the big question that continues to foil systems. Relevance is so very subjective when it comes to this kind of content. There's no way to reliably predict what might be interesting or appropriate for any of us, except us.
 

truthingtotruth

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That question of relevance is the cornerstone of the thought that there is "too much" and it is the work of anthropologists and archaeologists that brings to mind another aspect of what needs saving or archiving.

In addition, I think it is worth noting that a good solar flare could cause serious trouble for data that is archived in digital formats. I think there are institutions that have special vaults, or some such types of structures, that can provide some protection from solar flares.

I wish I had the time to study this area of data storage, but that is also why I am asking anyone in this community what they feel is proper to focus on saving? And how?
 

Nev_Dull

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What to save, if anything, depends entirely on the individual site. If your forum's subject is very topical, there might be very little worth archiving. All content also has a life cycle. At some point, it may reach the end of its usefulness for future members, even as archival content. It's something we all have to consider as we work on our backup plans.

And, of course, if (when) we are hit with a solar event significant enough to destroy data on that scale, we aren't likely to be concerned with our forums.
 

truthingtotruth

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My goodness, I have angered the Gods. The atmosphere here is all black.

Anyway, Nev_Dull, I am not asking about what an individual or a site's team might want to save/archive. I am asking what we should view as important for saving for scholars who study us about a thousand years from now. Thus that reference to not enough information - - - meaning those scholars trying to study this human group on this planet about a thousand years back.
 

Pete

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We don’t have *particularly* good data on things from 1021 CE if we’re honest. We have records but they’re not great, and often disputed.

What would I want to preserve for posterity? The sense of us. The distillation of everything we have learned about what it means to be human.

I’d want to capture some of our greatest works of art, literature, theatre, TV, movies, computer games. Heaven help me, a slice of our social networks too.

But I’d want to record it with commentary, with analyses, with notation as to what we think we understand about it.
 

Nev_Dull

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Well if you're talking about what to preserve for historians in the future, that's already being done and, presumably, will continue. Archivists around the world continually preserve historically significant materials for future scholars. Unlike the early days of our history, we have plenty of written records, as well as audio and video materials. More than that, we are obsessed with documenting and analyzing nearly every facet of our society, culture, politics, and history.

We don't know a lot from the far past because there were very few written records to go on. Everything we know (or think we know) had to be pieced together from various fragments and educated guesswork. Unless some catastrophic event happens, we aren't likely to have that sort of gap in our documented historical records between now and 3000 CE.
 

Oldsmoboi

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I've been running into a problem lately of too much information in Google and that information is no longer relevant. I was trying to diagnose a quirky printer driver issue recently and my fairly generic search terms were giving me first page results that included solutions from 2011 and 2012. Sorry google, wrong decade, operating system, and software version....try giving me a solution that was written in the last oh... 3 years or so.

The fact that ancient information still ranks so high on google indicates there is some flaw in their algorithm. Someone searching for help on something in 2021 does not need a solution from 2011.
 

zappaDPJ

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The fact that ancient information still ranks so high on google indicates there is some flaw in their algorithm. Someone searching for help on something in 2021 does not need a solution from 2011.
I agree. For search results it's Google's biggest flaw, at least it is for me. I don't understand why it's so hard to list results in date order, something even the most humble forum manages with ease.
 

Nev_Dull

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That's the power of being the big guy. You can force users to accommodate you. Google could make it really easy to filter results by date but instead they make us do the extra work with the before: and after: tags, or by using the tools. Neither is intuitive and most users will just wade through pages of old results, which suits Google just fine.
 

truthingtotruth

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Okay, it wasn't the Gods. I finally decided to do the proper thing and check if there was a TAZ reason and that is listed as TAZ Dark and I will confirm that it is really "dark". Odd, though, that I didn't know I triggered that myself.

Nev_Dull, you nailed it, in my view, with that use of "obsessed" and that is what I think could be a problem - - - too much. What in the world are the scholars in a thousand years supposed to trust as useful for their studies?

Yes, there are government institutions that are sources of information. There are the academic institutions. But can we be sure they have a good grasp of what us lowly subjects of the realm truly view as representing our Net World? And then the tentacles of our Net World that are endlessly reaching into our brick-and-mortar world and causing change there - - - are all of us in agreement as to how good some of those changes are? Do those government and academic folks running those storage collection entities really understand how our everyday lives are being affected by the changes being caused by this New Net World?

One simple example - - - within the next year or so (or less) the number one train transportation company here is going to stop printing train schedules. They are stating that we can get those schedules online, so no need for those little schedules that have been so handy for decades - - - those little schedules that fit so neatly into a billfold.

Now I find that to be not so good, but I am an old sort and maybe them younger folks view that as just fine. Now that is a social issue that will likely get buried and in a thousand years ain't nobody gonna be finding this post where I am ranting about that one issue.

But how many other similar issues can we find when we truly start to study this New Net World that is slowly unfolding and really changing the heck out of that world which was not so long ago just that black telephone sitting next to that new modern device we knew as the black-and-white television.

Do those government and academic institutions really have a full grasp of what is happening to us lowly types?

That darn Star Trek phone that all sorts of folks are carrying around in nations all over this planet is seriously changing our everyday lives, but who is documenting how those changes are unfolding? Do the ways us older folks view those changes have any significance now? Enough of a significance that those views will be sort of easily available to scholars to study in a thousand years?

And does that faster and faster pace of change from one generation to the next have a significance that merits it being in some manner documented for scholars to study (if they are inclined to do so) in a thousand years? If so, where is that documentation?

But I am starting to get very technical here, aren't I? But there is so much to cover. What is significant in the flood of documentation we are now seeing?

As for those that made note of anthropology and the lack of information, many sources were written down after the actual 'documentation' had been handed down by word-of-mouth from one generation to the next by carefully chosen folks to memorize sagas.

Many documents that were written down were because royal folks with money could pay folks to write things down and sometimes those writings were slanted to make them royal folks look good.

How many of you know the full extent of the influence of the royal folks on what Shakespeare wrote? Especially that king fella?

Are scholars going to have a similar problem when they study what is available in a thousand years?

Let's take this business with the constant upgrading of browsers. If we don't dig deep enough right now we'd think this upgrading is all about security. That is hogwash. It is about making money. The security aspect is beefed up to help hide the money factor.

Yep, you are first inclined to state I have just done a hogwash paragraph just above, right? But have you truly studied about this browser business? If you dig deep enough, you might be very surprised.

So in a thousand years, will those scholars be able to learn the true nature of the "browser scare"?
 
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Nev_Dull

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That very obsession with analyzing everything will help. There are books written about browser wars and many other aspects of the internet, because of how influential it has been over the last couple of decades. Some of that is likely to survive far into the future.

As to whether or not it will survive a thousand years really depends on how important it is seen to be. I agree there are questions around what becomes history and what doesn't. I'm upset over a half litre of milk quietly being reduced to 475ml for the same price because it screws up my muffin recipe. I somehow doubt that will be recorded in the historical accounts.

This is where our forums and blogs come in. They may not be vital in the grand scale of history, but they do capture snapshots of what everyday people are interetsed in and concerned about these days. I do shudder to think that twitter and facebook content will be what scholars in the future know of us.
 
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