7
   

There is no Wisdom in Crowds

 
 
cicerone imposter
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 03:16 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne, I think the "average" idea is fine in concept, but not in reality. Look who the American People voted in for two terms?
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 03:21 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Don't make me sic Thomas on you.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 03:37 pm
@DrewDad,
Too, late DrewDad!

CI, it wasn't the American people who voted for Gore in 2000. Gore won the popular vote.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 03:42 pm
@FreeDuck,
Quote:
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.


Too late, it's been done a bunch of times already, and sometimes the software itself is written by the crowd as well:

http://trac.edgewall.org/ - With SCM integration
http://www.bugzilla.org/
http://www.mediawiki.org/ - Used by many corporations for crowdsourced documentation, for example here's Motorola's official Motorola Q wiki: http://www.motoqwiki.com/

Robert Gentel
 
  6  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 06:17 pm
Here's an example of how the wisdom of the crowds can go wrong with Google, but it also quite clearly demonstrates that they are using the wisdom of crowds:

http://i32.tinypic.com/1zr15hy.png
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 06:56 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Classic!! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  3  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 06:53 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:
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.


Why doesn't everything else work too?

ebrown's claim here is that a single person can "outdo the crowd". But which crowd? If he relies on deductive reasoning, mathmatics, his knowledge of science, any reference source, etc... then in the end, the crowd has won. "The crowd" - as in "society" - determined the mathmatical formulas, the scientific evidence, etc... The crowd goes back to as far as when humans began communicating with each other.

What we were all taught in school was the results of the crowd wisdom of mankind as a whole. All those books were written and published by people who went through the same sort of educational process. Unless the lone individual facing the crowd can claim that they've never been in contact with another human being then they are a product of the collective wisdom so any answer they provide to any question is a part of the crowd's wisdom itself.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 07:58 am
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
Re: rosborne979 (Post 3365745)
rosborne, I think the "average" idea is fine in concept, but not in reality. Look who the American People voted in for two terms?

Hi CI, I understand your desire to bash Bush (such an easy target), but it doesn't do much to support E_Brown's basic argument.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:20 am
@fishin,
fishin wrote:
ebrown's claim here is that a single person can "outdo the crowd".


Actually, I think that's his claim on the other thread -- one I am avoiding getting involved in for that reason.

Quote:
What we were all taught in school was the results of the crowd wisdom of mankind as a whole. All those books were written and published by people who went through the same sort of educational process. Unless the lone individual facing the crowd can claim that they've never been in contact with another human being then they are a product of the collective wisdom so any answer they provide to any question is a part of the crowd's wisdom itself.


Not sure I follow what you're saying, but I think it has something to do with ebrown's claim in the other thread, which I'm not going to address.

I think there are a couple of different concepts floating around here pretending to be the same thing. One is harnessing the efforts of the masses -- no disagreement that it is effective in producing things. Then there is using the crowd to predict crowd decisions -- also works. But using the crowd to determine best value, I think, can be argued. Ex. pop music.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:24 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
Too late, it's been done a bunch of times already, and sometimes the software itself is written by the crowd as well:

http://trac.edgewall.org/ - With SCM integration
http://www.bugzilla.org/
http://www.mediawiki.org/ - Used by many corporations for crowdsourced documentation, for example here's Motorola's official Motorola Q wiki: http://www.motoqwiki.com/



Too late in general, but not for my project which doesn't produce publicly used software. I will only argue with bugzilla as being an example of crowd written documentation -- not hardly unless it is highly customized and made public and then rigidly moderated, and even then its' still just bug tracking. A wiki is a better example. Even then I think it is more likely to work with users of certain kinds of applications over others. The one I'm working on now, for instance, would not be the kind of thing users would take the time to write something on a wiki for -- but there might be other ways.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:32 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:
The one I'm working on now, for instance, would not be the kind of thing users would take the time to write something on a wiki for

<wonders if FreeDuck works for the Defense department.>
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:41 am
@DrewDad,
No, luckily.
Ramafuchs
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 03:05 pm
@FreeDuck,
USA is a land full of crowd and nothing to do with wisdom nor with decency or democracy.
Rama fuchs
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:16 am
http://images.despair.com/products/demotivators/conformity.jpg
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:22 am
@DrewDad,
http://images.despair.com/products/demotivators/idiocy.jpg

(I actually think folksonomy can work, but I laughed at the poster.)
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:23 am
@DrewDad,
Despair. The site that keeps on giving.

http://images.despair.com/products/demotivators/ignorance.jpg

OK, I'll stop now.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:25 am
@DrewDad,
OK, I lied.

http://images.despair.com/products/demotivators/meetings.jpg
Ramafuchs
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 12:28 am
@DrewDad,
It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
Walter Lippmann
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 08:01 am
@DrewDad,
I love that site too. (Did it used to have a different name?) I once pissed away a whole afternoon reading those.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 06:09 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown, you should read this article:

One of us is smarter than all of us

Quote:
You've heard the saying "none of us is as smart as all of us", and you've felt the pressure. A group of individuals working together as a team can do better work, reach better decisions, etc. After all, two heads are better than one. Right?

Given how much I can't stand (with a passion) that idea, I almost skipped the keynote talk by James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. And that would have sucked. Because what he said was amazing, and I had his perspective (mostly) wrong.

He started with a few thoughts on how ants (and so many other creatures) are quite simple and stupid, but that their intelligence and complexity grows with the number of interactions between them. More ant interaction equals more sophisticated behavior. It's similar to flocking behavior, of course, where birds follow very simple rules but complex behavior emerges.

And that's all great and intuitive... until you get to humans. Humans, he said, demonstrate the opposite principle: more interactions equals dumber behavior. When we come together and interact as a group seeking consensus, we lose sophistication and intelligence. Ants get smarter while we get dumber.

So how does this track with the name of his book?

Where I had it wrong is that his book's premise (wisdom of crowds) comes with qualifiers.
The wisdom of crowds comes not from the consensus decision of the group, but from the aggregation of the ideas/thoughts/decisions of each individual in the group.
 

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