Metadata is "data about data" -- information like keywords, page-length, title, word-count, abstract, location, SKU, ISBN, and so on. Explicit, human-generated metadata has enjoyed recent trendiness, especially in the world of XML. A typical scenario goes like this: a number of suppliers get together and agree on a metadata standard -- a Document Type Definition or scheme -- for a given subject area, say washing machines. They agree to a common vocabulary for describing washing machines: size, capacity, energy consumption, water consumption, price. They create machine-readable databases of their inventory, which are available in whole or part to search agents and other databases, so that a consumer can enter the parameters of the washing machine he's seeking and query multiple sites simultaneously for an exhaustive list of the available washing machines that meet his criteria.
If everyone would subscribe to such a system and create good metadata for the purposes of describing their goods, services and information, it would be a trivial matter to search the Internet for highly qualified, context-sensitive results: a fan could find all the downloadable music in a given genre, a manufacturer could efficiently discover suppliers, travelers could easily choose a hotel room for an upcoming trip.
A world of exhaustive, reliable metadata would be a utopia. It’s also a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris and hysterically inflated market opportunities. ❧
Apparently this also now applies to politics and democracy too.
Annotated on August 06, 2020 at 09:12AM
When poisoning the well confers benefits to the poisoners, the meta-waters get awfully toxic in short order. ❧
If we look at Twitter as a worldwide annotation tool which is generating metadata on a much tinier subset of primary documents (some of which are not truthful themselves), this seems to bear out in that setting as well.
ref: Kalir & Garcia in Annotation
Annotated on August 06, 2020 at 09:17AM
Schemas aren’t neutral ❧
This section highlights why relying on algorithmic feeds in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be toxic. Your feed is full of what they think you’ll like and click on instead of giving you the choice.
Annotated on August 06, 2020 at 09:23AM
It’s wishful thinking to believe that a group of people competing to advance their agendas will be universally pleased with any hierarchy of knowledge. The best that we can hope for is a detente in which everyone is equally miserable. ❧
The fate of true democracies.
Annotated on August 06, 2020 at 09:33AM