Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Too Many Brilliant People...

Not enough conversation!

Okay, so they probably talk with each other all the time, but they leave me out of the loop.

Here are the articles of Paul Graham, author of a fun book called "Hackers and Painters". I suggest you read it. I got it for free, because Fry's had this rebate for the price of the book, but I would gladly pay full price. I didn't even know he had a significant web presence until yesterday. Anyhow, he's brilliant, if a little scatterbrained at times.

There's dozens of these kinds of pages that I stumble across. Brilliant people with a huge library of brilliant writings. It's impossible to tell whether people have visited their site, whether anyone else has read the articles. And it's impossible to discuss them. Of course, if it isn't impossible to discuss them, it still ends up being impossible to discuss them, simply because there will be ten thousand comments and you'll be pissing in the ocean.

Does Paul Graham know about, say, Freakonomics? Do they know about him? Their methodologies are like two sides of the same coin, and we won't discuss who is the tail. I would think they would get along splendidly.

But they probably barely even know that the other exists.

This is just one example out of ten thousand. I'm sure that these people are pretty happy living their lives as they are: they're all quite successful, and I'm sure they have little free time on their hands.

The thing is, it's also true of "the underground": people like me. A chunk of enforced free time, the will and capability to discuss theory of virtually any kind. All the pages I find that impress me are successful - obviously, you'll tend to find pages of successful people rather than unknowns, and that's a good thing, usually. But they aren't the kind of people to sit down with an unknown and shoot the breeze.

Now, my instinct is to either find or found a forum which allows you to discuss any kind of theory at any level. The problem with such a forum is that leeches show up. People who aren't very intelligent, but think they are. People who step into discussions which are way, way above their level of comprehension, slowing it to a halt as tutoring is performed.

That, of course, is ignoring the inherent problem of "swamping".

Clearly, no "normal" forum could manage this. But perhaps one could be designed with these constraints in mind...

Hm. Then you'd have to figure out a way to populate it heavily enough to keep conversations going...

It would be quite a task. An interesting idea, though.

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