Shallowness and a reluctance to engage in matters of substance strikes me as a highly probable outcome of epistemic systems.

For example, what happens to subreddits on Reddit when they become defaults, and are subject to the voting preferences of a million or more subscribers. Or the coverage of mass-market yellow-journalism newspapers of the 1890s - 1920s. Or of a typical Facebook feed. Or of Television's Great Wasteland. Or of the Google+ "What's Hot" stream. Or clickbait driving out solid journalism. Or of crap, annoying ads driving out at least modestly high-quality and non-annoying ones. Of trolls driving out substantive participation. Of nationalistic, religious, ethnic, or other arbitrary discrimination leading to an exodus of skilled business, intellectual, or worker talent. Of the overflow of an exceptionally competitive dog-eat-dog information applications market with spyware, adware, malware, and scamware, as has been repeatedly shown on Microsoft, Google, and Apple applications "ecosystems". (I prefer to consider these "swamps", might want to see there's anyone who can drain them.) That good and principled politicians are not only not selected for high office, but are actively dissuaded from even seeking it.

It's almost as if there was, oh, I don't know, something like Gresham's Law at play: Bad X drives out good X.

Which suggests a few further things:

That an organisation whose missions are to organise the world's information, make it useful, and not be evil, might want to pay close attention to these dynamics.

That this is an exceedingly persistent and long-lived tendency. Aristophanes, "The Frogs".

That "the customer is always right" isn't always right. That the Free Market is an ass. That the Marketplace of Ideas is a moron.

That somewhere in the process, some high imposed penalties for idiocy, and high supplemental assistance for intelligence, seems perhaps necessary. Or at least an alternative to the present.


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