by Stephen Downes
Apr 11, 2016
I'm not sure exactly what to make of this post. Sure, the author points to a series of problems that plague network behaviour, from the problem of noise, to requests for information that can be found in the manual, to unclear requests, to people making requests without providing responses of their own. But it's framed like the tragedy of the commons, posed as a problem of free riders. "Great networks build up goodwill among the members which facilitates collaboration through trust, shared connection and a sense of reciprocal benefits. Free riders are members of those networks who don’t contribute to the general goodwill," writes Simon Terry. But this is just nonsense. Networks aren't some sort of quid pro quo marketplace. The ability of people to contribute is asymmetrical. 'Goodwill' isn't some sort of pseudo-network currency. And it's silly to think of a network simply as a question-answer sort of system.
I love the colourful diagrapm that accompanies this post. And the content is pretty good too. The authors "focus on how to link multiple online identities of learners and their contributions across several social media platforms in order to study their learning behaviours in open online environments." In the paper (6 page PDF) the authors found that less identity resolution that expected was needed because the participants mainly used Twitter, even when they were taking different courses. This might be one of those results that needs more study, because while the educational community uses Twitter a lot, the network is less pervasive in other communities.
"Seeing something that isn’t really there could be your brain reacting to feedback between neurons in different parts of the visual system, according to new research.... it signifies that studying neuronal feedback is important to our understanding of how the brain works to process stimuli." This is interesting, too, because it shows that the interaction between neurons in the visual cortex isn't all one way - it's doesn't proceed straight from input layers to output, but sometimes moves back and forward between layers. Cool!
So says the Hrvard Business Review: "There is strong evidence that our work ratings, bonuses, and promotions are weakly correlated to actual performance — in fact, performance may even matter less to our success than our political skills and how we are perceived by those who make the decisions." I'm not sure that this is what creates 'great' leaders, but it does characterize the nature of those who survive.
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