Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by n1 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @04:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the most-of-twitter-to-be-flagged dept.

The National Science Foundation is funding the “Truthy” database, intended to detect “false and misleading ideas,” "political smears," and other "social pollution” in online political activity. Researchers at Indiana University have received $919,917 (so far) for this project. The resulting open-source platform will be made publicly available, including via a web service open to the public for "monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

According to the grant, “This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:05PM (#85799)

    All tweets, posts, emails and interwebbery must be prevetted to ensure compliance with all government mandates, otherwise the paedoterrists have won!

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:55AM

      by davester666 (155) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:55AM (#86053)

      Yes, you are publicly smearing a politician if you disagree with the legislation they have proposed or passed, or just disagree with the politician. Hell, why aren't you voting for him again?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by edIII on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:09PM

    by edIII (791) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:09PM (#85801)

    This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate

    None of that is bad for business though. Information Asymmetry helps them, not hurts them. At least usually.

    Sounds nice, but I'm betting it will be used to manage false information out there and prevent dissent, and attack valid information that is damaging to business.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:46PM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:46PM (#85810)

      where are mod points when I need them?

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:59PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:59PM (#85861) Journal

      None of that is bad for business though. Information Asymmetry helps them, not hurts them. At least usually.

      I think information asymmetry is bad for businesses as a whole (The Almighty Market), but good for whoever is sitting on a stockpile of secret information. So it's bad for some businesses, and those businesses happen to have a lot of money. They also have a lot of friends in Washington, unrelatedly.

      In this case reducing information asymmetry would be bad not only for the business making money off of selling this information, but also those businesses who are running marketing campaigns that are intended to look like normal people talking about products.

      It would also be bad for governments that are running secret social media propaganda campaigns [theguardian.com] in hopes of influencing the crowds. [soylentnews.org]

      To me, reducing information asymmtry is the next best thing to shutting down the surveillance state (which should still be top priority). If the G-men get to watch us all, let's all watch us all.

      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday August 26 2014, @11:34PM

        by edIII (791) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @11:34PM (#85974)

        To me, reducing information asymmtry is the next best thing to shutting down the surveillance state (which should still be top priority)

        I'm in complete agreement. At the same time though, I'm extremely suspicious of any kind of Big Data project to develop new tools. That's essentially what this is, a new tool to analyze all the user generated content.

        Who is using the tool?

        Forgive my cynicism but when this is offered as a "service" the last person I see paying for and using it is someone with the interests of the people and common man at heart.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:23AM

          by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:23AM (#86019) Journal

          I understand your cynicism, I just think it might be misplaced. Maybe you should worry about the fact that the federal government is sponsoring this, and ask why. But concern that this is a service that will be offered to a select few at a price seems to go against the wording of the grant funding the project. From TFA:

          “The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

          “The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

          Maybe I'm being too hopeful, but it sounds like this is an awesome open-source data mining tool that could potentially be used to spot the sock-puppets of nefarious governments and corporations.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:11PM (#85802)

    Sounds like yet another attempt to automate human judgment.

    Sure they may be able to identify certain types of meme propagation patterns that correlate with some types of lies and half-truths. But without the ability to understand the ideas themselves rather than just some of the external characteristics any system will have high error rate - both false positives and false negatives.

    Until we have AI's that are as mentally flexible as actual people that sort of thing just can't work. And if do eventually develop AI's that smart, they will get just as bored with that sort of work as a human would because, by definition, they won't be idiots.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:28PM (#85805)

      Don't worry, I'm sure they'll cross-check with a database of what high-ranked people from big political parties/large companies said, and automatically exclude such statements from the list of lies and half-truths.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by etherscythe on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:32PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:32PM (#85887) Journal

      I'm thinking it's a bit more responsive version of Snopes. Seems like Snopes mostly does stuff you see in email and takes awhile to catch on to trends and stuff generally going "viral", whereas there is a staggering amount of misinformation in social media. If somebody had a URL shortener service compbined with a #debunk tag we might start to get a handle on the worst idiocy and slow its propagation. One can hope. I'd approve funding for this project, were it up to me.

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:50AM (#86597)

        Maybe you are right. They talk a lot about automation but they also talk about crowdsourcing.
        I guess the devil will be in the details.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:39PM (#85807)

    this is a test to see if this comment originally posted to soylent news is also cross-posted to pipedot.

    • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:48PM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:48PM (#85812)

      Huh. The two do have an almost suspicious amount of cross posted content. Also, does n1 post stories over there too? It almost seems like they're scraping SN's site.

      --
      Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:51PM (#85813)

        Pretty sure SN is being scraped since the parent comment was picked up: http://pipedot.org/comment/1409060340_a_701b4fd8_soylent_news_org [pipedot.org]

        Weird URL at that.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by RaffArundel on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:12PM

          by RaffArundel (3108) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:12PM (#85817) Homepage

          Just noticed my comments on sparticles appears over there - worse, it is nonsensical since the post I was replying to had the comment mangled. If you are going to pull the posts in, at least let me know and don't screw it up!

          • (Score: 2) by mrider on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:09AM

            by mrider (3252) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:09AM (#86038)

            Yeah, well apparently I screwed up moderation on that site as well! Jeez, can't a fella catch a break (LOL). Nail Polish story [pipedot.org] (search for "mrider").

            --

            Doctor: "Do you hear voices?"

            Me: "Only when my bluetooth is charged."

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by n1 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:22PM

        by n1 (993) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:22PM (#85821) Journal

        I do not post stories on pipedot. We (SN staff) have been unaware they're scraping content (stories and comments) from this site.

        Pipedot now appears to essentially mirror SoylentNews for the most part. This was not something agreed by anyone on the staff of SN that i'm aware, and there is no official opinion on it. There's attribution on the stories and content but perhaps not quite enough.

        The arrangement is not reciprocal at this time.

        • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:46PM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:46PM (#85829)

          Still OT. What do you think about it?

          --
          SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by n1 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:55PM

            by n1 (993) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:55PM (#85908) Journal

            I can't say i'm very impressed. I do not feel it's appropriate without proper attribution and linking, it's also putting an unnecessary load on the SoylentNews servers.

            I was under the impression the pipedot founder bryan(?) and NCommander had communicated amicably on a number of issues, so this situation comes as a surprise.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by lhsi on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:17PM

              by lhsi (711) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:17PM (#85920) Journal

              A little while ago, a few weeks maybe, Bryan said he would stop adding stories and focus on coding. Ncommander offered to have the SN feed show up on pipedot, but nothing happened for a while.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by bryan on Wednesday August 27 2014, @08:06AM

                by bryan (29) <bryan@pipedot.org> on Wednesday August 27 2014, @08:06AM (#86124) Homepage Journal

                When NCommander graciously offered to have the SN feed show up on Pipedot, I wrote a simple script to do exactly that (within a day or two). However, the main editor at Pipedot, zafiro17 [pipedot.org] (also a large contributer on Usenet's comp.misc), wanted to try his hand at something more unique [pipedot.org] - and so I agreed to keep the feed off for a few weeks. Unfortunately, he is now in the midst of an unrelated database project that is taking up more of his time and so he asked me to finally turn the feed on.

                No animosity exists between the two sites. We are working towards the same goal. Ever since the July 4th incorporation as a public benefit corporation, the policy of Pipedot is to direct all users to SoylentNews for daily news and discussion.

                The Pipecode project at Pipedot is working on making a better slash-like platform where users are in control and technical measures are implemented so that mistakes like the "beta" redesign debacle cannot happen in the future.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by lhsi on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:28PM

              by lhsi (711) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:28PM (#85925) Journal

              Found a link where something related is mentioned: https://pipedot.org/comment/1404886957_ncommander_pipedot_org [pipedot.org]

              I didn't see an anouncement on pipedot after I noticed it earlier, but hadn't checked the site in a couple of days.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Random2 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @10:14PM

              by Random2 (669) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @10:14PM (#85943)

              Reposting for the sake of visiblilty:

              Before we jump too far down the fire and pitchforks route, we should determine if this comment is factual and still valid:

              https://pipedot.org/comment/1404886957_ncommander_pipedot_org [pipedot.org] [pipedot.org]

              Specifically the part:

              I don't think the staff (or I) would have any issue if you spooled in our articles directly (obviously, we have to get a license on new content hammered out before you could do that, but that's on our TODO

              If they have worked out some sort of licensing then they may be in the clear, but if not this could be a bit awkward. Remember that Soylent is also a news aggregation at present, and taking articles from other news sites (sometimes verbatim) is a thing that has been done here. That said, I personally consider also grabbing the comments fairly questionable, as aggretators distinguish themselves on content and community, the comments on these articles being the 'community' aspect of Soylent.

              Moreover, I can see how what NCommander? posted as being interpreted to mean "All of the content on our site can be freely posted on your site after we have reached a licensing agreement"; although I believe what he meant was "Once we have started our independent journalism, you may repost those articles (without comments) freely".

              --
              If only I registered 3 users earlier....
            • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Wednesday August 27 2014, @07:47AM

              by lhsi (711) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @07:47AM (#86119) Journal

              Pipedot about page has been updated to mention it: https://pipedot.org/about [pipedot.org]

              About the Pipedot - SoylentNews Gateway

              Stories and comments posted on SoylentNews are mirrored by the Pipedot - SoylentNews gateway. Please do not take this to mean that we are "stealing" content or trying to redirect other's efforts to our own site. It's just a mirror and you still "own" your own comments just as much as you do with the copies indexed by Google, Coral Cache, or the Wayback Machine.

              Stories and comments are owned by their original poster!

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by cafebabe on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:51PM

          by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:51PM (#85857) Journal

          I submitted the following via https://pipedot.org/submit [pipedot.org] and I regard public availability via https://pipedot.org/pipe/1409082490_a_34feb656_pipedot_org [pipedot.org] as acknowledgement of receipt:-

          Title: Pipedot Caught Plagiarizing Copyrighted Content
          Topic: Legal

          As noted on https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=3587&cid=85807 [soylentnews.org] and https://pipedot.org/story/2014-08-26/database-to-track-suspicious-memes-on-twitter [pipedot.org] and in particular, https://pipedot.org/comment/1409062920_n1_soylent_news_org [pipedot.org] , the majority of content being posted on pipedot.org is taken without permission from soylentnews.org

          Given that the copyright of comments on soylentnews.org is not transferred from the people that posted them, this ongoing action constitutes wilful, mass copyright infringement.

          You are hereby given notice on behalf of John Doe and Jane Doe * 4,000 under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, as amended, Section 512(c)(3)(A) that:-

          (i) The required digital signature is given as "5bdb763c2789167181a7376c29c06de3".

          (ii) The work infringed is a subset of all comments posted on soylentnews.org.

          (iii) The work infringed is a subset of all comments prefixed with "2Q" or suffixed with "@soylent-news.org".

          (iv) The complaining parties may be contacted via https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=3587&cid=85807 [soylentnews.org]

          (v) After reading https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=3587&cid=85821 [soylentnews.org] it the good faith belief of one Doe that publication is not authorized.

          (vi) One Doe states that this notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of one Doe's exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

          It is also noted that soylent-news.org is not affiliated in any form with soylentnews.org but is registered to the same postal address as pipedot.org

          --
          1702845791×2
          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by engblom on Wednesday August 27 2014, @05:35AM

            by engblom (556) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @05:35AM (#86091)

            So typically American to act like this, sadly. Grow up! Why legal action instead of discussing the problem with the other?

            I see it as a bad behavior to copy the other site without a discussion before doing it. However, the best for both sites would be if they shared content and this is something I think both should strive to achieve.

            If this would be two-way both sites would benefit as both sites would get more comments and stories. This would also force both sites to keep a nice UI. As soon as one site would get a more annoying UI they would risk having no users.

            So my message to both is to discuss and grow up!

            • (Score: 1) by khedoros on Wednesday August 27 2014, @10:10PM

              by khedoros (2921) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @10:10PM (#86479)
              Pipedot's use of the content on their site doesn't provide a benefit to the community, as currently implemented.

              - If I comment on Soylentnews and someone replies on Pipedot, I'm not informed, and no discussion or dialog is created. I can't respond to something I can't hear.

              - Read the Pipedot About page. They're marketing themselves kind of like a Usenet client (a viewer of an underlying infrastructure). That would be a great justification for the site's behavior, if it were true.

              - Bad behavior sometimes needs spanked, not to destroy the actor, but to get them to behave better.

              Reworking a Slashdot-like engine is a good idea, and long overdue. It's admirable to modernize a tool that we use, and to provide another frontend interface to information. We should encourage that, because it's useful. But if I come to your website, copy the content verbatim, using your bandwidth and processing resources for my own goals, and without telling you, that's not acting in the public interest or in the interest of spreading information. That's pure self-interest. If Pipedot's staff wanted to promote freedom of information or multiple interfaces to a story database, then they should've contacted SoylentNews and set up a cross-site API for information transfer. That would be in the benefit of the community and freedom of information.
          • (Score: 2) by present_arms on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:21PM

            by present_arms (4392) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @03:21PM (#86283) Homepage Journal

            That's brilliant lol

            --
            http://trinity.mypclinuxos.com/
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @01:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @01:59AM (#101597)

            rqKymv http://www.qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com/ [qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com]

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:35PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:35PM (#85890)

          Somewhat amusing is the fact that they stole this article [pipedot.org] too.

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:20PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:20PM (#85820)

    This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.

    Or, it could do exactly the opposite. It depends on how much you trust the person running the service.

    Any scoring service can easily be manipulated to promote some ideas at the expense of others.

    • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:08PM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:08PM (#85839)

      i read this and assumed it was what advertising/marketing already does!! Meme propagation...

      Financial liability for BS would be much better.....!

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by MrGuy on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:25PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @06:25PM (#85823)

    With suspicious memes.

  • (Score: 1) by lolococo on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:49PM

    by lolococo (4579) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @07:49PM (#85855) Homepage
    They should just buy it from them, or ask nicely.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @09:46PM (#85932)

    Centuries earlier, we could have nipped that unpopular, suspicious, meme of a non-geocentric universe in the bud. And stopped that nonsense with Galilleo's Inquisition trial.

    Even better, we can keep thought-crime away from the subject of human bio diversity, heritability of traits including intelligence, and other things that are double-plus ungood.

  • (Score: 1) by GoodBuddy on Wednesday August 27 2014, @12:16AM

    by GoodBuddy (4293) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @12:16AM (#85985)

    “Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

    By the way, FTFA, it tracks only Twitter.

  • (Score: 2) by nyder on Wednesday August 27 2014, @01:18AM

    by nyder (4525) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @01:18AM (#86000)

    Everyone has a different truth, we really don't see things the same way, so exactly which truth would be represented?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:58PM (#86271)
      I'm truth. Or did you mean something else?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27 2014, @06:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27 2014, @06:07PM (#86393)

        No, I'm truth.

        Oh wait, I seem to be you. ;-)