7
   

There is no Wisdom in Crowds

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:38 pm
@DrewDad,
It makes more sense if you realize that the thumbs up/down in youtube pertain to the comment section, not the star rating of the video itself. We aren't talking about rating the posts but rating comments in the post section - that's what the thumbs up are for.

Also, the default sort on Youtube is 'relevance,' not 'rating.'

I see you're still determined to be a jerk, but it doesn't matter much to me.

Cycloptichorn
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:47 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
It makes more sense if you realize that the thumbs up/down in youtube pertain to the comment section, not the star rating of the video itself. We aren't talking about rating the posts but rating comments in the post section - that's what the thumbs up are for.

They're still value judgements. Both the ratings and the comments.

Quote:
Also, the default sort on Youtube is 'relevance,' not 'rating.'

Goodness! However did you figure out how to change the default view? No new users could possibly be savvy enough to figure that out!

Quote:
I see you're still determined to be a jerk, but it doesn't matter much to me.

I see you're determined to define "jerk" as "someone who pokes holes in my cherished beliefs."
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:52 pm
So what on A2K would be the equivalent of the YouTube culture?

Would the originating post of a topic on A2K be the video itself on YouTube? When we vote on the originating post is that the equivalent of the star ratings on the video?

Would the voting on any posts that follow the originating post then be equivalent to the entries in the comment sections on YouTube videos that people then vote their agree or disagreement with?

Would browsing through an A2K member's profile views list be the equivalent to subscribing to a YouTube Member's channel?

How many people look at the star ratings or comment votes on a video before they decide whether or not to watch it? Do those star ratings and comments influence your viewing choices?

I find other videos of interest by looking at the related videos list. That list is compiled from tags people apply to their videos when they post them. Isn't that what we're doing on A2K when we tag topics and then click on a tag in the Popular Tags list to view all the threads related to that tag?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  3  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 08:15 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown wrote:
Nihm (in his somewhat patronizing manner)

ebrown wrote:
is stating, without proof,


Pot ... kettle ... you must lack some basic self-awareness.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 08:36 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I have not read beyond the first page, so if some has pointed this out I am sorry: the idea that the crowd controls content at such places as wiki is a myth, in truth a very limited number of "trusted" unpaid users do almost all of the the content change. These are not crowd controlled sites, they are sites where the crowd can comment and sometimes do impact content....if the gate keepers allow it to happen.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 08:52 pm
@hawkeye10,
Filtering the noise is pretty typical of all crowdsourcing that goes beyond merely polling the crowd. But the fact remains that the crowd has intelligence collectively that the individual does not, and that the collective of wikipedians is more intelligent than its individuals.

It's not a very similar use of crowdsourcing if you are comparing it to voting systems (and it seems people claiming these applications don't exist have a pretty slippery definition of what they are talking about) and you are certainly right that the management of the community ends at a core of admins but that doesn't diminish the collaborative intelligence that the wikipedia accumulates.

In that case, the whole together provides more wisdom than any one individual and if the group were a lot smaller, they would collectively provide less information.

That's why they can overtake the coverage of an Encyclopedia with a smaller group of editors like Britannica. Because they take teamwork to webscale. There are plenty of flaws in their system, but it is an example of wisdom extracted from a crowd. The crowd doesn't have to directly control the content at all to be an example of the crowdsourcing that ebrown is claiming doesn't exist.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 08:55 pm
@Robert Gentel,
agreed.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 08:57 pm
@hawkeye10,
Now what the hell are we supposed to do.

"You learn more from disagreement than agreement." - Me
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 09:37 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
I would like to see examples where a crowd acts wisely to do or produce something of value (other than predict its own behavior).

In the 1800's there was a cattle baron who argued that the common rabble at a country fair could never guess the weight of a prize bull, but that an educated cattle man could do it.

So they had a contest. All the bumpkins at the fair got to guess at the weight of bull and anyone who got it right would win a prize. They ran the contest all day and had several hundred guesses, but nobody got it right. But when the baron averaged all the guesses, the average was dead-on. So even though no single individual in the crowd got it right, the crowd on average did.

I'll try to find the reference to this. I heard it on a PBS show and it was told as though it was a true story. But I wasn't paying much attention, so I don't remember the details.

Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 09:49 pm
@rosborne979,
That example is in James Surowiecki's book. It was statistician, anthropologist etc Francis Galton, who said that "the stupidity and wrong-headedness of many men and women being so great as to be scarcely credible" and then averaged the crowd's estimates at a fair and they were within a pound of the ox's weight. His later study introduced the concepts of standard deviation and regession toward the mean.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 04:28 am
@Robert Gentel,
This is statistical bunkum. The idea that polling a crowd will give a better view of reality is simply bad math.

This is easy to see... if you believe crowds than you believe that Paris Hilton should be famous, that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and that Obama is a Muslim.

Stories about some mystical affect that are given as one time stories (without scientific study) should make anyone skeptical. Random crowd polling will work occasionally-- just as you hear stories of magnetic bracelets curing cancer occasionally. If this were a real effect, you would see scientific studies where 1000 questions would be divined by crowds and the failures would be recorded as well as the successes.

Fortunately, you don't need such a study. Just go look at poll results, then compare them with reality.

Ask people to vote on what they think... and more often then not, the crowd will be wrong.
fishin
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 04:50 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown_p wrote:
This is easy to see... if you believe crowds than you believe that Paris Hilton should be famous, that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and that Obama is a Muslim.


Err... You are aware that polls show 1 in 10 think Obama is a Muslim and that 22% of of the U.S. adult population believed that Saddam was involed with 9/11? It would seem that you are disproving your own point here. The collective wisdom got both right by overwhelming majorities.

As far as Paris Hilton goes - The collective wisdom doesn't tell you whather she should or shouldn't be famous. It tells whether she is or isn't famous.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 05:00 am
@fishin,
I offer a scientific way to test this dubious claim.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 05:38 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
the idea that the crowd controls content at such places as wiki is a myth, in truth a very limited number of "trusted" unpaid users do almost all of the the content change.

This is just not true, as anyone who's edited Wikipedia pages knows.

Why do people insist on making broad claims about things they've obviously never tried out or checked for themselves?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 06:57 am
Ok, I've read this whole thing, and have come to the conclusion that you are all right. The key appears to be in ebrown's postulation that crowds are only wise in their ability to predict the crowd's actions/opinions. So using crowds to determine popularity works. Language -- my favorite example -- works because the purpose of language is to communicate and be understood by others -- the crowd. If most people like "alright" then the word is "alright". By using words that most people use you have a better probability of being understood.

So, I think you guys are really all saying the same thing about "the wisdom of crowds" -- it has its uses but it's not for everything. As to the voting system here on A2K... I agree with others that it could use some refining. If the thumbs up/down were one part of the measurement of interest, taken together with how many responses a thread gets, taken together with what other people who vote like me (or typically post in the same kinds of threads I do, etc... ) say about this thread, I think I would be more likely to see threads that I am interested in here on A2K. Right now it's not a good predictor so I tag (as a bookmark, not for value) and use new posts. Pretty much how I did before. Or perhaps if this site had a much, much larger user base. Maybe the samples are just too small right now.
parados
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:06 am
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0301/04-ask.html

An interesting answer and question series on the wisdom of crowds.
In particular it mentions
Quote:
Crowd wisdom is enhanced when the individual guesses are derived from diverse sources of information. This diversity tends to create a balance of high and low guesses, which when cancelled out through averaging tends to leave us with the correct answer.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:07 am
@FreeDuck,
The usefulness of using "new posts" will diminish if the site gains popularity as hoped.

As I said on EB's other thread, you have to define "wisdom."

I think EB is using one definition of wisdom. The "wisdom of crowds" group is using another.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:16 am
A mob with torches and pitchforks bent on burning down the old mill is a form of crowdsourcing.

Cheerleaders getting the stadium to make noise is a form of crowdsourcing.

The trick is getting the crowd to do something useful.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:19 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
The usefulness of using "new posts" will diminish if the site gains popularity as hoped.


Very possible. A much bigger sample could change the scenario.

Quote:
As I said on EB's other thread, you have to define "wisdom."

I think EB is using one definition of wisdom. The "wisdom of crowds" group is using another.


I agree, which is why I say that you are all right.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:23 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
The trick is getting the crowd to do something useful.


You had to go and throw out another thought provoker. Usefulness is relative.

Someone needs to find a way to get crowds to write software documentation for free. Hey, don't anybody take my idea! I am totally doing it on my next project. Hell, I'm going to pitch it for this project.

 

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