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Reducing the Entropy (was Re: Does XML-Dev matter?)

information entropy
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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