Since I’m in a programming mood lately, this caught my attention.
Saagar is listing various political celebrities who suddenly gained and lost Twitter followers since Elon announced his takeover. Many of these changes are reversals of long-lasting trends, and they don’t seem to correlate neatly with R vs D.
Saagar also notes that the takeover deal includes a standard provision ordering the company to HOLD STILL until the deal is done. They can’t adjust their protocols or algorithms or hiring policies to poison the takeover. (HOLD STILL isn’t just for big companies; ordinary house purchases forbid the seller from remodeling or tearing down the house before transfer.)
He asks: Are these unusual changes simply the natural ups and downs, which were previously erased or reversed by Twitter’s constant adjustment of protocols?
Programmers know that the machine is not a machine. The machine always reflects the tastes and desires of the programmer and his employer.
It’s an interesting Constants and Variables question whether it’s true or not. The suddenly non-barking algorithm tells you far more than the perpetually barking algorithm.
See also how constant perfection can stand out among normal variation.
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Later thought: Before FB and Twitter, ordinary people didn’t have ratings or follower counts. Books had best-seller lists, which generally disagreed with the judgments of the critics. TV shows had ratings, again disagreeing with the professional critics. Politicians had polls, again disagreeing with political columnists.
Now the professional critics get to alter the ratings and listings to suit their own preferences.
Did non-celebrities ever have written and visible status ratings? Yes, in one peculiar situation. College fraternities and sororities.
And where did FB originate? In a Harvard fraternity.