Posts by BenWilson

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  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    I'm pretty sure Rich posted it as a joke. The whole point was that this test was written by someone carelessly, or with poor English, or taking the piss. Many of the questions are ironic self referential jokes. Question 10 is particularly bad - it does not tell you what collection of words to select the word from to select the letter from.

    His point being that half of the people in this thread could fail this particular test, even though it would seem to be pitched at about 10 year old comprehension levels.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Farmer Green,

    No zero is not a number, or was not a number. No 5 is asking for the first “a” . . . so a comprehension test.

    These are clearly the important questions when deciding if a person should have access to democratic participation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Rich Lock,

    LOL. I fail on question 1. Question 10 is curly. For 11, crossing out the 1 makes the number below one million (zero is below one million). 2 is some kind of figure of speech, to underline the word line in this line. 5 is cunning, looks like a typo. Again it's some kind of cunning figure of speech that the first first letter of the alphabet happens to be the first letter in the word alphabet. To solve 12 you need to obviously either accept that a line can be not straight, or tear the paper accordingly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    to get full citizenship you have to take exams and write essays to show your ability at critical thought.

    I'd be very much against that. Obviously teaching those things is important, but I don't think something as arbitrary as the luck you have in upbringing and natural intelligence should be the basis for access to power. That's how it already is, to a highly significant extent. But no amount of intelligence gives you moral authority, as so many clever evil bastards have shown throughout the ages.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Not that I'm knocking your idea, Dennis. Lots of amazing things have been done by volunteers working freely on them. Many of societies greatest intellectual works. But political organization could probably be said to mostly be the work of free volunteers, mostly self selected from middle to upper classes, and they've had a damned good go already. Some piece of this is missing, and I don't think it's the professionalism of politics. I think its the complete lack of the winning actual idea that either professionals OR volunteers could get themselves behind to deliver a decent government that is by, of and for the people, and yet also still effective, efficient, productive and fulfilling.

    Which is not to say this idea is not out there, but just that I haven't heard it. I've dreamed since youth of a society in which decision making might leverage technological advancements more to get around some of the cost of democracy. But the basic problem of engagement and competence remains, no matter how easy you make it for people to participate. It's not exactly hard to vote, but loads of people can't even be bothered to do that.

    I'm not surprised. On most issues, people don't feel competent, for good reason. The consensus model of engagement start breaking down the more complex what you are organizing becomes. When it's just a household, both parties can participate in nearly every decision (and even then they usually don't, instead specializing in their interests). But when it's a nation, it's so damned enormous I don't even know what's going on with 99% of it. Within that 1% I do know about, I'll likely feel engaged enough, but it's hard to claim big mandates from tiny participation. What I can claim is that of the people who give a shit, x percent said this. It's not the same as saying that "people" said this, or want this. But when it's all you've got, it's what you take.

    So what we have is not so much meritocracy as giveashitocracy. Which is in some ways a shadow of meritocracy, but is not exactly the same.

    But outright meritocracy has serious problems as a political system. It's going to entrench privilege and power, and there is no safety valve at all. At least giveashitocracy does have the valve that if something becomes enough of a problem that the giveashit factor rises, then the entrenched privilege can be swept aside.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I got sick of having any kind of discussion with people screaming that it was only permissible to talk about one reason for a result for which there are patently multiple reasons.

    So much this. The usual fight over the mandate delivered by some binary choice. As if the entire way that hundreds of millions of people think can be summed up in the choice between the two least popular candidates in US electoral history.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    How about voluntarism as primary social ethic? A system that provides a way for volunteers with confidence & expertise to volunteer for solution implementation roles. Know how, can do. A traditional kiwi social ethic proven successful for generations before some goddam corporate privatised it. Crowd-sourcing intelligence, then enabling it to achieve required results. Better than the usual left/right shambles, I reckon.

    I can personally attest to the key problem with voluntarism being extremely low levels of engagement. You're literally talking about the people doing all the work getting paid nothing for it. It's only an improvement upon the current model in that people not being paid are rather free to pick and choose their position, financial motivation doesn't come into it, but they are extremely vulnerable to simply being bought out or paid off, unless they are already completely secure in their income.

    So the pathway to that model is that you have to FIRST solve the problem of impoverishment of anyone not working. Or you are literally relying on the idle rich or the unemployed for your solutions. The first group will naturally work voluntarily to protect that situation, which is hardly going to be a progressive social movement, and the second is totally vulnerable to being bought out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    If it was chess I'd say it's the mid-game.

    Was just on Breakfast too. It was a bit of a blindside to just be focusing on safety issues, given the pre-interview. But that's mass media format, unfortunately. Focus on a single issue.

    I certainly didn't form the Association entirely for the fucking public safety. That's not actually my job to enforce, it's the Government's, and the various arms it has for exactly this purpose. They then make rules which they enforce on drivers, which Uber dropped for 2 reasons:

    1. They couldn't get enough drivers to sign up to get paid so little when the compliance cost (tiny though it is by international standards) involves a cash outlay
    2. They wanted to pay drivers LESS, which they did AT THE SAME TIME. Because it is extremely hard to fight for any of your rights to fair pay and any other conditions of employment when your basic employment is seen as completely illegal by the authorities. When your employment is thrown into the same basket as some random unchecked person without the right to work who doesn't pay their taxes or even know the law.

    So the battle over compliance is actually a battle over having a legal bloody job. It is actually about the money, at the end of it. It's about the basic employment proposition: That it should be Safe, Legal, and Profitable. Uber attacked all three of these things at the same time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I'm probably going to be on Seven Sharp tonight.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    You are missing my point entirely.

    I don't reckon. You made your point that the MSM should stop focusing on little things that Trump is doing because some segment of the population doesn't have the ability to think critically. I don't see the connection. For starters, the newly elected President is always the focus of extreme media attention, there's nothing unusual or partisan about that. For seconds, if there was anything good that Trump has done, I'm sure they would report it. Has there been? And furthermore, when you make any kind of argument for anything based on the how irrational people will think you're on shaky ground - you can argue anything that way.

    so they go and find news that is more to their taste and truth that more accurately reflects their lived experience

    Right. What I'm missing here is why the MSM should just fit in around that for some reason. Maybe, just maybe, this actually IS the MSM having a backbone for once, and not falling down at the knees of power. Maybe the people working in those networks actually have genuine fears about a Trump presidency, just the way you and I do. Maybe them giving him a hard time actually IS them talking truth to power. You do understand that he is now the most powerful man on Earth, right? Not to mention one of the richest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10211 posts Report Reply

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