Janitor and judge Seth’s Blog

Eternally seductive.

1,000 emails take up as much space (and cost just as much) as one. An online bookstore can carry every book published. And the long tail of music gives every single person a chance to share their work.

The easiest thing to do is “let the market sort itself out.” There is no judgement.

That’s what algorithms in the tech world want to do. No judgment about taste, quality or value. Hands off about sources, reactions or effects.

It’s easier. And on some level, that seems more fair.

Without a lack of limited shelf space, it’s easy to embrace infinity.

But no judgment is still a judgment in itself. When a site publishes per By promoting ideas on its platform, each based on an unpublished formula, they made a judgment about the power of ideas and how a community could evolve. It is new. Libraries, bookstores, radio stations—all custodians of our culture—danced with inadequacy and influence and responded with judgment. If you can’t afford or promote everything, judgment is the obvious response. Because you have to pick something.

But when the company delays and refuses to make judgments, infinity and scarcity collide. Institutional reputation and knowledge have value, and by ignoring them, big tech companies are making a statement about that value. Each seems to be trying harder than the next to help users fail to understand what’s worth believing.

Kindergarten that fracas has a useful function. It helps children grow up. But if you need surgery, I hope you go to the hospital, not the local elementary school.

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