Subject: Re: Bring back Xah!
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/04/25
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Michael Hudson <>
| (Admittedly it's been a pretty tiresome couple of weeks for cll...)

  is this a cry for help to learn how to instruct your newsreader to ignore
  threads?  I have always labored under the "misconception" that USENET is
  a medium where selectivity in reading is as much a requirement as with
  any other news medium -- namely that if you aren't selective, you'll go
  mad from sheer information overload.  to aid those who agree with this, I
  don't change the subject of threads unless I want to break continuity,
  and that happens almost as seldom as changing the newsgroup.  (speaking
  of which, why is it a good idea to bug a new and different audience with
  a topic if the only constructive element to a "take it elswhere" is to
  get rid of noise?)  I'm very disappointed that this is not appreciated by
  those who obviously don't want to read "tiresome" material, and I get
  annoyed when they go out of their way to make more noise about the noise,
  usually blaming others for their meta-noise in the process, triggering
  the _normal_ and _expected_ reactions to false accusations and general
  blame-throwing.  the only way to reduce noise is to figure out what it
  comes from and help fix the core problem.  complaining about noise _is_
  noise, by definition.

  but frankly, complaining about news _volume_ (which is what this boils
  down to, much more than signal vs noise) means you have missed a crucial
  point about communication.  tuning in and tuning out, focusing attention,
  and following up the listening with _caring_ is so fundamental to our
  ability to sorting signal from noise in real life that I can't imagine
  how people work who are irritated by stuff they profess to ignore, and so
  it always amazes me that people think it's somebody _else's_ fault if
  they care about the noise they "suffer".

  the best possible remedy to news overload is to read news on a machine
  that displays messages fast enough that you can actually browse them and
  let your trained reader eye spot information that is _important_ to you
  among all the noise that _inevitably_ fills up your sensory input system.
  it may be one of the great "failings" of artificial intelligence and the
  Internet as a whole that _all_ information has an air of _importance_
  associated with it, simply by virtue of requiring nonzero effort to come
  by it, but being able to discard the unimportant and leave the important
  is _crucial_ to surviving in the information age.