Author Topic: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age  (Read 876 times)

BlodwynPig

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Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« on: February 09, 2020, 11:24:41 AM »
I'm sure you are all too aware of this regressive phenomenon: finding specific information about an event using a casual google search of the internet unleashes a torrent of bilge so opaque that you may as well be living in 920 AD and relying on twice yearly word of mouth.

Here is an example - I wanted to find out which television channel France vs Italy (Rugby) was being aired. Type that search into google reveals hit after hit of "Online newspaper articles" purporting to give the answer - they all seem identikit and I guess they somehow attract revenue for the paper if you click on them.

I tried the Mirror and was faced with what on the surface looks like a local online newspaper article chock full of clickbait and adverts. Its garish and casually unreadable.

I was hoping for "France vs. Italy will be aired on the BBC at 2:30pm" on the first line...but no. Parsing the text only, it does look like a standard but lazy preamble to the game and someway down through auto-streaming videos and adverts I find:

Quote
What TV channel is it on and can you live stream the match?

Live coverage of the match will be on BBC from 2:30pm with all the build-up to the crucial clash.

To stream France vs England head to the iPlayer website or app, if you are in the UK.

OK, I've seen this before - you search for a particular game and you think you've hit gold only to realise you are getting the result or report of a match between France and Kazakhstan from 2013.

So, I head over to player - go to the source, bring up the tv schedule and if its not there, head to ITV or better still a generic tv listings site.

Iplayer however now hides the scheduling link within an array of gaudy and bewildering smorgasbord of their shit programming.

What should have taken me 2 seconds, took me over a minute.

Now, this is all trite and pointless, but I think it reflects the misappropriation of the internet for big corporation revenue funnelling and, darker still, the dragging to the bottom of 'casual' users mental acumen and well-being. I say casual as a smarter internet user would not be so lazy and have already staked out and bookmarked the relevant sites that are trustworthy and informative without overloading the senses with confusion and despair.

Any thoughts on this. NB. I did not embed any adverts or insta-streaming video so that you could read my splurge undistracted.

tl;dr? your loss

Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2020, 11:26:59 AM »
Aye but before the internet what would have taken you a monute would have taken you days, weeks or not at all.

Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 11:29:02 AM »
I use Google and type for example 'live rugby on tv today' first hit is:

https://www.wheresthematch.com/live-rugby-union-on-tv/

and its all there.

Google's natural language algorithms seem to work for me

imitationleather

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2020, 11:34:19 AM »
Shouldn't this really be in the Blodwyn Mentions the BBC sub-forum?

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2020, 11:36:43 AM »
Shouldn't this really be in the Blodwyn Mentions the BBC sub-forum?

Ahhh but it could have been on itv

My real question is how and why such “information” is made so opaque in a so-called technologically enlightened age. Or you can sneer instead. Free country

Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2020, 01:34:34 PM »
I don't know what version of iPlayer you were looking at but I see "TV Guide" right there at the top of the page, second from the right, and clicking on it takes me directly to the schedule. I didn't even have to open a menu or anything.

With ITV you have a point - they do have a TV Guide page but you can only find it by first clicking "Watch Live," which is a bit counter-intuitive if you're after looking up something that's not on till later.

JesusAndYourBush

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 01:34:43 PM »
tvguide.co.uk is my go-to for this sort of thing...

https://www.tvguide.co.uk/search.asp?title=rugby

BBC1 2:30pm today, kick off 3pm.

Mister Six

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2020, 02:41:07 PM »
I tried the Mirror and was faced with what on the surface looks like a local online newspaper article chock full of clickbait and adverts. Its garish and casually unreadable.

I was hoping for "France vs. Italy will be aired on the BBC at 2:30pm" on the first line...but no.

There are three reasons why they don't just put all the info in the first line...

1: Google's algorithms now "read" articles and give weight to those that appear to be longer and more in-depth, so for search engine optimisation purposes, it's better to pad the article out a bit and cram in as much info as possible.

2: One of the metrics people look for when buying ad space on a site is the engagement time. The longer someone is on a page, the longer they are "engaged" with it. So burying key info under some pointless waffle increases that by a few seconds.

3: Once they've sold ads to someone, the site needs to make sure readers see them. Which means encouraging readers to keep scrolling. More words = more scrolling = more chances to see an ad.

Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 02:54:47 PM »
Google "amazon fire" and see how long you need to scroll before you find a picture of the amazon rainforest fire last year

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2020, 04:55:24 PM »
There are three reasons why they don't just put all the info in the first line...

1: Google's algorithms now "read" articles and give weight to those that appear to be longer and more in-depth, so for search engine optimisation purposes, it's better to pad the article out a bit and cram in as much info as possible.

2: One of the metrics people look for when buying ad space on a site is the engagement time. The longer someone is on a page, the longer they are "engaged" with it. So burying key info under some pointless waffle increases that by a few seconds.

3: Once they've sold ads to someone, the site needs to make sure readers see them. Which means encouraging readers to keep scrolling. More words = more scrolling = more chances to see an ad.

Thank you.

notjosh

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2020, 06:13:16 PM »
At the end of the day if you want quality, reliable information you have to pay someone to provide it. There's so little money in online advertising revenue but so much competition for it that websites have to resort to the above-mentioned tricks to get your attention and then wring every last drop they can out of you.

There's some kind of new cryptocurrency called the Basic Attention Token which rewards you for actually looking at adverts, and then allows you to tip some of this credit back to quality websites. Or something like that. I feel like at some point we may move back towards AOL-style gated online communities where quality websites sit behind a paywall, but you pay one subscription for them and this is automatically shared across the sites that you actually use. But I suppose that would require much better metrics for measuring a user's engagement with the content.

Or just buy the Radio Times.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2020, 06:19:00 PM »
I'm just spending the evening watching extreme turbulence videos. Ready for the rapture

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Nonsense - A critique on information in the digital age
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2020, 08:14:35 AM »
Another weird thing the BBC does:

The live radio/video embed will sometimes say 'unavailable in your area, etc' or force you to sign in.

However more often than not you can just click on the TV and Radio sections of the website and access the same feed there untroubled.

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