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New Feature: Literacy Quiz Questions

2016-04-17 in Uncategorized

I have a hunch that one of my friends – no: at least one of my friends – believes that I attempt to sucker people into following my ideas. In contrast: I believe pretty much the exact opposite of that, namely that retard media are designed to profit from suckering the illiterate masses into their propaganda schemes. To put it simply and succinctly: The way I see it, illiterate people follow (or „believe in“) retard media; only literate people (who are able to grasp my ideas) are willing and able to follow (or „buy into“) natural language.

For this reason, I am starting a new feature on nooblogs.com: Literacy Quiz Questions. As for almost everything on this site, you need to be a member to use this feature (well, you can read without being a member, but in order to participate and share your questions and ideas, you do have to be a member 😉 ). Luckily, it’s free and easy to become a member! 😀

The way it works is as follows: You can write a question into the activity stream – WOOHOO! 😀 In order for this question to qualify as a literacy quiz question, you must start your post with the string „#Literacy #Quiz #Question:“ – and then follow with the question. You can also add additional information, thinking, etc. but the question should immediately follow the string.

Of course anyone can answer any question, but I will try to be very focused on (at least) providing my answer to any questions any member of this site might have. 🙂

I’ve thought up a question to use as an example (and I already know my own answer to this question 😛 ) – see:

#Literacy #Quiz #Question: What is the single most important factor in #Google’s #rank order of #links on any #search #engine #results #page (#SERP)? #SEO

(I will post my answer to this question … maybe in a week or two 😉 )

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One of the Main Reasons Why You Should Thank Matt Mullenweg (and the WordPress Community) for Efforts to Increase Online / Digital Literacy Rates Worldwide

2016-03-27 in Uncategorized

More than one in four websites on the globe runs on WordPress… — but that statistic doesn’t actually matter (I will get back to this statistical issue in a moment).

Wordpress logo

WordPress logo

99.9999% of all comments on the Internet are completely worthless. This is why Google decided to create and champion the “nofollow” tag — in order to delist all comments from Google’s index. Google perhaps made a very small mistake (in throwing out the 0.0001% baby with the bathwater)… yet ultimately that comes down to 2 issues: 1. Whether you want to have any “comments” indexed at all; 2. How much you value that very small number of comments you might actually want indexed. Google was also very clever to stick the smoking gun of delisting comments into the hands of other people — perhaps there is indeed no need to cry “don’t shoot” when you’re not holding a gun after all.

In any case, the result is: Comments are not indexed. For that matter: I can’t remember if I have ever seen a facebook.com post come up in the top 10 results on any Google search. I do recall seeing twitter.com posts every now and then, but perhaps this is down to Google still being undecided regarding whether to acquire twitter or not (everything has a price). In my humble opinion, no anonymous comment is worth even just that proverbial “penny for your thoughts” — if you are not willing to stand behind your own words, I don’t want to hear them at all. In my less humble opinion, what passes for identity verification / authentication is usually completely ridiculous. Ergo, in my estimation at least 99.9999% of all online comments — perhaps even 99.9999% of all online content in general — is completely worthless crap.

Now back to the batcave — I mean: the statistical issue I raised above. The reason why maybe it is not so important that more than one in four websites run on WordPress is that most of the many millions of websites are actually owned by very few people. I myself manage a portfolio of thousands… — you might call it an investment… sort of: being long on literacy in a for the most part presently still illiterate world… and I am personally myself active on only about several dozen — or perhaps a couple hundred(?) — of these sites (including, e.g., this one). I am sorry to admit that nooblogs has yet to really catch on, enter the wider vocabulary, join the ranks of Google, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. in the list of brand names deemed significant enough to be listed in a dictionary. (yet there is still hope 😉 )

So while anonymous commentators, facebook page creators and twitterati remain oblivious to their own disenfranchisement while they surf in the most sophisticated dreamworlds of virtual reality, the plain and dirty fact of the matter — the truth, if you will — is that if you don’t manage your own website, then you are unfortunately… pretty much… nobody.

If you want to be listed in the top 10 Google results for anything, then it might help to be Google (or Alphabet or whatever — in any case: evil 😈 ) or at the very least give Google a chance to make some money (by putting Google ads on your site — i.e., helping Google to earn tons of money while you can be very proud to be listed in Google at all — at least for something).

For that tiny fraction of one percent of people who are literate enough to publish something that enables the somewhat larger population of somewhat literate users of the web to be able to read what the more literate have written, WordPress has been a Godsend. Matt often speaks about the democratization of publishing — and I feel he is right to do so… yet the vast, vast,… overwhelingly vast majority have still not attained a level of literacy sufficient to publish anything of significance on the web. The success of facebook.com is a glaring document of how widespread illiteracy still is.

Matt and other creators and contributors to WordPress have done a lot to help. You should be thankful. More than that, if you are a little bit educated, you should already be running WordPress. If not, you should presently be installing it now. Otherwise, there is a high chance that you probably paid too much for your education.

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Why Literacy Rates Still Remain So Low

2016-02-09 in Uncategorized

I often lament that the vast majority of people who are active online are still by and large illiterate. I may be right, I may be wrong, I may be somewhere in between – but why does it matter?

Perhaps it matters for many reasons, but my primary concern is that I feel personal whim – whether my own personal whim or someone else’s – should not be the judge of what is good or bad.

If more people were more literate, then the web would be more of a self-organizing system. People who write about advertising in sports might publish their ideas @ sports.com … people who share their ideas about the influence of money in politics might post these to a site like influence-of-money-in-politics.org … and so on. This already happens to a limited extent – let me describe it thusly: Over the past recent decades, the WWW-population has transitioned from being about 0.01% literate to maybe being somewhere around 0.1% literate… – and let me point out that some might rejoice at the exponential growth!

Why don’t I also rejoice?

Because there are a large number of quite influential agents who seem to be opposed to any increase in the level of literacy. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that a large portion of the literate population are indeed such influencers who seek to diminish the voice of the vast majority by
keeping them misinformed, uneducated, … basically: illiterate.

These influencers are strongly represented not only among the literate minority, but also among the world’s leading brand names … and are household brands with stronger stangleholds on the vast majority of masses living in quiet desparation than gigantic armies of grade school English teachers could ever muster. Did you mean you didn’t know that already?

Why am I not surprized?

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I neither Like nor Want to Talk About Me

2016-01-30 in Uncategorized

Over the past couple days, I have been reading more or less random blog posts… — I will get to why in a moment, but I first want to remark and point out very pointedly that I really don’t like talking about me, myself, my personal feelings, etc. I don’t consider myself to be very important in the “greater scheme” of things. I find it awkward and even a little painful to watch people write, behave, act or whatever like they are the center of the world … like everyone is just waiting to find out how they feel about something. I find that sort of information boring and disingenuous (I think that’s the word I want, but I’m really not sure).

OK, so why am I writing this here and now? Thanks for asking!! 😀

Try This at HomeImitate a spiritual master [05:30-13:30]. My spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, and her spiritual memoir (if you’re curious) is Story of a Soul. I was surprised to hear the person that Elizabeth picked as her spiritual master! Hint: that person’s autobiography is called Audition. (Sorry, I promised to post a photo of my shrine to St. Therese, but I’m in Australia now, and I forgot to take the picture before I left town.)

The quote above is from a podacst hosted by Gretchen Rubin together with her sister Elizabeth Craft, which I have recently discovered and enjoy very much (even though it is supported by advertising 😉 ). I enjoyed the idea which they suggest to “try this at home” in this episode (#16), and so I want to share my ideas about this here. I will call my spiritual Master X, because I don’t want to divulge their identity here without their consent. I want to share my own ideas, but I don’t want to put this person in an “awkward” position.

The way I want to imitate their behavior is that I want to try to enjoy other people for how they are different than I am.

X is also a very special person for being humble — particularly in not claiming to be right. The humility of not being right is also something I aspire to — but it is also something I feel I am very far away from (I admire it more than I practise it — I am more prone to behaving like a “know-it-all”, an issue also discussed in Episode 20 of Gretchen + Elizabeth’s podcast [12:15-14:30]).

Here are some notes I’ve jotted down about my aspirations and shortcomings to be more humble and to cherish the way other people are different:

  • From early youth, I have been very fascinated with science, mathematical proofs, logic, etc.
  • Later, I also became fascinated with subjectivity, perspective, relativity, etc.
  • This is perhaps most apparent in my admiration of Ludwig Wittgensteins’s work — but Wittgenstein is *anything but* my spiritual master, because he seemed to be so fixated on his own beliefs, absolute truth, etc.
  • My spiritual master, instead, revels in wonder and amazement at how other people behave, think, live, etc. (i.e., differently)
  • In contrast, I am often frustrated when people seem illiterate, do not understand how science works, etc.

Well, so this is why I have been trying to read what other people write … in a sort of “maybe I should just pretend like other people are indeed literate” manner … and I have become increasingly disgusted with the way people seem to be focused on themselves. 😐

I don’t want to end on such a sour note. So I will now link to a little story about some other people who also inspire me — please go ahead and check out: “Opportunity makers with + for others — doing something smarter together for the greater good“. 🙂

 

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There’s No Place Like Homepage

2016-01-26 in Uncategorized

Having recently significantly reduced my engagment on Facebook (much like I did several years ago on Twitter), I’ve been asking myself: “Where can I go?”

Nowhere, man! It really makes it! 😀

One of the first things printed after the invention of the printing press was the Bible. Perhaps an entire century passed before much of anything besides the same old, same old religious texts and tomes went to press. Perhaps another century passed before anything other than religion was not deemed sacrilegious, something to be immediately outlawed and banned from the so-called civilized world. More centuries passed, and today most libraries are filled with large numbers of texts which are not simply copies of one and the same Bible.

Today, you can find almost anything your heart desires in almost any library.

It is fascinating to see this same theme play out again on the web — with what used to take centuries (and also cost innumerable lives) now playing out over decades.

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Data Consumers vs. Data Producers: Every Outspoken Expression is a Social Act

2015-09-13 in Uncategorized

As people who follow my writing on other forums probably know very well, I often post more theoretical / abstract articles on one of my personal blogs which I set up for my own personal opinions (see e.g. “Delusions of Grandeur“). Here, I intend to be more “practically” oriented — and in particular towards an audience without much experience with respect to online media.

This weekend I took part in a sporting event, and as is quite common at such events the group (all adult males) also socialized quite a bit afterwards. There was one moment in particular that I wish to focus on right now. One father mentioned that his son, after returning from a summer camp, had over 6000 notifications on some app on his smartphone… and he shook his head at how much time is being wasted on these “social media” applications. I neither agree nor disagree with what he said, but I noticed something I find absolutely fascinating. Almost all the other men who agreed with this man did so without really adding any nuance to the conversation — and I find that particularly noteworthy. In other words, all who raised their voice did so mainly in order to join the group of like-minded… more so than in order to make a new observation or unique statement themselves.

After thinking about this for some time now, I have come to the following conclusion. Very often — no: I would indeed venture to say it is always the case that when we express some opinion, we do so primarily in order to state our wish to belong to some group. We declare our territory, our pledge of allegiance, and thereby each of our expressions should be seen as a social act. It is a declaration of intent: We seek to be a part of a community. Although the similarity between the actions of the fathers and their children seemed to completely escape these parents, there is indeed something different about the two cases.

The fathers who voiced their opinions stood before me in flesh and blood. I could see the frustration and exasperation in their eyes, their voices carried nuances of engagement technology startups can only dream of. Notifications on smartphone apps, in contrast, are not expressions of individuals per se — they are little more than tiny micro-publications made by some Silicon Valley company. The group affiliation the children are engaging in is one of servitude: they submit their expressions to some corporate entity which they hope will publish this content on their behalf. Indeed: Many people use such proxies in order to preserve their anonymity, and many of these anonymous users could easily be classified as trolls. In this vein, such inauthenticity might also be linked to mobbing, bullying and other at least questionable types of engagement.

We can hardly blame naive children for such inauthenticity — especially if we are not telling them how engagement might be considered as more authentic (as I have alluded to above). I myself have long ago developed “authenticity guidelines” for use in online settings. Above and beyond that, we might also bring to attention the degree to which more inauthenticretard media” websites exist in order to satisfy consumer and/or “selfie” attitudes — and also the degree to which their profits (or at least their profit motives) are based on the exploitation of their subordinate users.

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An Optimistic Point of View on the New Generic Top Level Domains: Possibilities Pointing to a Positive Outlook for the Viability of Regional and Topical Names

2015-08-27 in Uncategorized

A while back I wrote off the new generic top level domains as little more than proprietary fiefdoms for the largest and most exploitative capitalist media conglomerates to reap inordinate profits from (and also to exploit in other ways). I did not actually detail any examples of such exploitation, and since I have very little interest in the vast majority of these new so-called “generic” top level domains, I have also not looked into them closely enough to be able to provide any hard facts in this regard. Let me instead provide a “what if” fictional story… a sort of case study of what might happen if things went terribly wrong.

Suppose, then, just for the sake of argument, that Google’s acquisition of the rights to the “APP” top level domain led the company to become evil, perhaps even sinister. Imagine they would use this top level domain to install spyware and perhaps even stuff like viruses in order to take over the phones belonging people who visited “dot APP” sites. This would probably be so egregious, that even though the NSA might be aided with such privacy violations, the government would surely clamp down and put this sort of industrial espionage out of business, right?

Well, what if the “control” Google forced upon visitors was just a little less blatant? What if, for example, people using Apple iPhones were subjected to a “security check” (but a rather simple one, so no one would have to take off their shoes)? Or what if people trying to use Microsoft Office apps were told these had “security issues” and were forced to use Google Docs apps instead? I do not doubt that at least *some* people might nod off on such strategies of attack… indeed: some might even go so far as to call people who objected to such measures “conspiracy theorists”. I can quite easily imagine a vast plethora of scenarios under which the dot APP top level domain might be something short of a perfectly level playing field.

Granted: I do not doubt that there are some people who would label such cynical realism something else — perhaps a pessimistic point of view. Why not try to be a little more optimistic? Well, this past week one of my friends posted a very interesting status update that got me thinking along these lines — it read: “Create a vision that makes you wanna jump out of the bed in the morning”.

Let me tell you: After the sort of crap that I have been through, this is not an easy task. But I was nonetheless inspired. And so I have now set out to put on some fairy-tale rose-colored glasses and see the world with a view towards a more fair (and perhaps even a pleasant) outcome.

It basically goes like this: Pretend there are people in the world who defy the typical images (of culprits and victims) of capitalistic exploitation… who do *not* seek to profit from the starry-eyed naiveté of noobs, and who do *not* follow the line so often quoted (and attributed to P. T. Barnum) — that “there is a sucker born every minute” (who is ready, willing and able to fall for almost any even just somewhat cleverly designed sales pitch). As a more balanced reflection upon experience will show, this fantasy is rather unrealistic and far-fetched — but what if believing in something like this would make our lives happier, make us more light-hearted, more open, more agreeable to pleasant surprises, more willing to jump at the chance of an opportunity to profit from the riches at the end of a rainbow when it somehow happens to present itself for just a fleeting moment?

Come and take my hand, then, and join me down the path towards the answer to this unreasonable question: “What if the proprietors of these new proprietary top level domains were actually something more than merely hungry for profitable exploitation smoke and mirror gamers, what if they were actually in it for something more than selling opium to the masses, what if the masses were not such gullible suckers?” This seems like quite a formidable wall to scale — and before you give up, let me point out that I think there is actually an easier approach. If just *some* of the masses were less gullible, if there were just a few people who knew how to separate the wheat from the chaff, then perhaps that might some day lead to a situation in which people could learn to fish.

What I mean is: Let’s say there were some people who are able to identify whether a top level domain registry was being run in a fair and reliable manner. They could identify those top level domain registries as good places to register domains, and indeed: Some of the fair and reliably run top level domain registries might even be among the new proprietary top level domains (insofar as some of the proprietors might actually do good or at least sufficiently agreeable work).

Something quite similar to this actually happened this summer when Google apparently endorsed the “dot XYZ” top level domain registry by themselves registering abc.xyz (note that I myself do not necessarily consider the XYZ top level domain registry worthy of my own endorsement — but I think there are many people who are probably more influenced by Google than they might be influenced by me).

I will not discuss whether Google’s apparent endorsement of the XYZ top level domain has any merit — at least not here and now. My main point is that if there were people we could trust — or even better: if we were able to make such judgements ourselves — then we would indeed be in a situation in which we could separate the wheat from the chaff. My experience over many years in this area does not give me a lot of hope, but I want to at least remain open to the possibility of being pleasantly surprised.

Note that (I feel) it is presently far too early for anyone to be able to make any such judgements. The complexity of the issues involved presently outstrips the knowledge imparted by any college degree from any university on Earth — probably many times over. A large part of the complexity involves the simple fact that these proprietary top level domain registry organizations are venturing into completely uncharted territory. For comparison: There is still today almost no clarity with respect to how legal disputes regarding domains in the oldest registries — which are already several decades old — should be resolved.

If there are nearly no guideposts at all for gauging the usefulness of these new proprietary top level domains, the non-existent levels of literacy among the masses of gullible suckers waiting to be exploited is even more dismal … probably by several orders of magnitude. Another example (to give even just a small indication of how vast the extent of illiteracy still is even to this day, despite many years of precendent-setting happening in the traditional top level domain space): Ask anyone what the top level domain “CO” refers to and/or which organization is responsible for maintaining the registry, and not even one in a thousand people will be able to give anything close to a correct answer. Likewise: Despite many years of news coverage, only an infinitesimally small number of people will be able to say which top level domain registries are governed by EU laws (e.g. with respect to right to privacy laws and/or consumer rights). Both of these questions are extremely straightforward, yet the ability to answer them is far beyond the grasp of the mass of men (and women) who merely lead lives of quiet desperation.

No one is teaching them. No such schools exist. Most of the people on the globe hardly have running water — and the countries with the *most highly* educated people seem to be exclusively governed by interests opposed to educating the masses. The only hope I have for this situation to get any better is through the actions of some non-governmental “grass roots” organisation (or group or whatever)… or perhaps (in the most extreme scenario) through the self-education of some extremely motivated self-starters.

For years, this has been the vision that has made me jump out of bed in the morning — and I do agree: It is probably very important not to lose sight of this dream.

If a basic level of literacy were more widespread, I would probably be more optimistic for the near future. As it is, I feel the road ahead will be quite rocky. My ball-park estimate goes as follows: Many thousands if not even many millions of individuals and small-business owners will register regional and topical top level domain names (two subsets of what I refer to as “proprietary” top level domains). Most of these people registering domains will be naive and therefore will not understand most of the legal, business and related other repercussions imposed by these registries. In some cases, rather shady business practices will be permitted. In other cases, innocent consumers will be duped into believing something beyond what is actually being delivered. In each case, a very complex web of stakeholders will be by and large left in the dark about which standard operating procedures are being applied — or even whether any standard operating procedures even exist at all.

There will be many failures — and some of these might even be of so-called “epic” proportions. Companies will go bust, be acquired, merged, etc. — and there will be a great deal of churn and turnover. Large numbers of people, businesses, organizations and other institutions will be ruined, burnt or in some case perhaps just somewhat adversely affected.

Yet (to reiterate) amid all of this chaos, it may very well be that a few proprietary domains will actually succeed and also actually have a positive impact on the global community. I doubt this will happen by itself, but if over the coming decades some initial steps are taken which might increase the rate of literacy a little bit, then the prospects for the future would look much better. I for one am not letting up on my engagement in this space.

The most significant positive possibilities I see for these new proprietary top level domains is the chance for more localization — whether that be a matter of geographic localization (for which I feel the prospects are relatively good), or a matter of topical localization (about which I am much more skeptical — this is an area that requires much more sophistication, and I do not feel there is anyone [or any organisation] who is qualified as “up to the task” in this field).

To give you a glimpse of what I mean, let’s take this quote by Ray King (writing on circleid.com):

Domains using new TLDs are naturally shorter due to much higher name availability and furthermore they are shorter because the extension is not wasted.

For many individuals, small-businesses and mom-and-pop corner stores, this is a significant advantage. Consider how much easier it would be to visit rays.nyc than famousrayspizzanyc.com (and then also consider that it might be much more difficult to ascertain whether Ray’s establishment would meet the criteria required to register rays.pizza — or perhaps rays.deli or rays.restaurant and/or many other possible variants?).

Another interesting question was raised by Cory Doctorow in a very well-written article all the way back in 2001:

Any hierarchy of ideas necessarily implies the importance of some axes over others.

In other words: would it make sense to create a directory of pizza restaurants in New York City at pizza.nyc or maybe at pizza.restaurant.nyc (or maybe at nyc.pizza , nyc.restaurant or some other variant)?

In my opinion, the answers to questions such as these will depend mostly on how well different registries run their business. In my book, it seems like somewhere around 99 percent would receive the grade “FAIL”.

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