Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ On trickledown epistemics

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Pat Lockley (whose name appears nowhere on this website) asks what seems to me to be a newbie question about newsletters: "The problem is, there is no correction, little chance to reply, and given you're a guest on a comments page...  newsletters don't feel like a conversation... How do you make sure it's good. How do we find a way of making newsletters into a conversation?" The answer - simply - is to do what I do. Use your newsletter to respond to posts in other newsletters. If enough people do this (as used to be the case in the blogosphere before almost everyone sold out to Twitter and Facebook) then collectively you create what amounts to a mesh network, and this allows people to reply and criticize each other so that eventually what filters to a top represents some sort of consensus. Is it perfect? No, but it does replicate the epistemic value of a (more or less egalitarian) conversation. And this, on the whole, is rather more reliable than an algorithm biased to encourage outrage and controversy.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024 3:45 p.m.

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