Reducing the Entropy (was Re: Does XML-Dev matter?)
3/26/2002 2:44:11 AM, Daniel Veillard <veillard@r...> wrote: > we are saturated by information, the problem is selecting >and providing focused contribution, not growing the entropy, and do so >in limited time... At the risk of adding to the entropy, "I agree ". I at least think of myself as posting to this list mainly to extract information from the entropy about XML that one gets from reading too much about it, and to try out ways of expressing my understanding of the information. I'm HOPING for bad ideas to be shot down, since a) if the people here don't understand an argument about XML or internet technology, nobody will, and b) if a disconfirming fact or effective counter-argument exists, someone on this list probably knows it. At the risk of starting an entropy storm if a certain well-known advocate of the contrary position is reading ... I find mailing lists such as this one a more valuable source of entropy reduction than the more trendy weblog medium. Entropy is reduced by vigorous application of energy to weed out the less useful memes, not giving them a hothouse in which they can flourish without apparent contradiction. It's great to have places where people can "think" in peace and publish their ideas without having to worry about being flamed in a response, but sooner or later those ideas have to withstand the flames. There was an article in one of the newsmagazines last week on the beneficial effect of the .bomb meltdown on Silicon Valley. The author made the analogy that the tech industry needs downturns like the chaparal ecosystem needs fire -- it burns off the underbrush but doesn't hurt the strong trees too badly. The same applies to the "marketplace of ideas". XML has grown some strong trees, but they are hidden in the underbrush, and frequent small fires help prevent catastrophic conflagrations that destroy everything. Of course, weblogs such as Leigh Dodds http://weblogs.userland.com/eclectic/ that explicitly try to reduce the entropy by summarizing the key points in a lot of give and take are fantastic resources, but get much of their energy from the mailing list. Anyway, my point here is just to encourage the people who disagree with something to NOT be silent ... "I agree" doesn't carry much information, but "You're wrong ... I can't express why very well, but think about it harder yourself" at least gives a vote of no confidence in an idea before it is inflicted on the Real World.
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