The Liminal Classroom

“What,” I asked, “are we to make of Plato’s attempts to define justice?” A chill descended. Noses burrowed into The Republic. One student hesitantly volunteered a comment; another offered a passing observation. Something resembling a discussion followed, but most of the remarks betrayed the superficiality of the students’ engagement. They were eager to discuss their favorite movies and books, censorship, or the problem of date rape, but they shrank from…

Crossbow [Systemic Bias in Wikipedia]

Examples of systemic bias: Because so many Wikipedians do their research on line, topics not already well covered on the Internet tend to be under-covered in Wikipedia. Because so many English-language Wikipedians live in a very small number of countries, topics pertaining strongly to those countries are disproportionately covered. Because so many Wikipedians are interested in technology, technological topics are disproportionately well covered. Ditto science fiction. Ditto libertarianism. Conversely, and…

The Long Tail

Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what’s available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the more…