Bonum Certa Men Certa

SPAM is Ruining the World Wide Web and We Need to Talk About That

Video download link | md5sum be3f545cd31e04f98657cde097386943 Spamfarm or Webspam: Is This the Future of the WWW? Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The World Wide Web (WWW) has a pandemic of misinformation, but to make matters worse a lot of sites have turned into spamfarms, sometimes shrewdly disguised as "news", "reviews" etc.

LAST week's long rant about what CNX Software had become certainly did not help. In fact, CNX Software got even worse in recent days (this ongoing worsening motivated the previous video) and it's safe to say that about half the "content" there is nowadays borderline junk or outright spam. This is part of a worrying trend, so singling out Phoronix or CNX Software would be missing the point. To make matters worse, they imperil themselves and pave the way towards their very own demise. It's the trust which took them years to build up -- if not decades to build up (Phoronix turns 18 later this year) -- which kept or keeps their momentum going. Lose the trust, and the audience will vanish, in turn removing any incentive for investment (either as author or advertiser). This is how sites die.

What we said about the Linux Foundation in that same (aforementioned) rant is still applicable, as demonstrated in the video above. This is part of a broader trend which we first cautioned about around 2020. Once-legitimate sites are selling out and trying to 'cash in'. It never ends well because existing audiences are alienated, nobody new comes knocking, and sooner or later one becomes a "SPAMnil" [1, 2] with more videos than actual daily views.

"We hope to extend the dialogue about these issues; it's the same problem in Gulag's YouTube."This problem is further exacerbated by spammy search and "social control media" oligopolies; they're simply not in the business of prioritising accurate, objective information such as news sites; instead they promote clickbait (or optimise for that) because they aim to enhance "engagement", which is related to mental/psychological distress. It's widely known people are more likely to do things they're strongly passionate about; disagreement increases "screen time" (with space for ads). But it can be counterproductive, even corrosive.

In the video above I show examples of the problem (using new material) and then randomly pick some Gemini capsules, where the signal-to-noise ratio is a lot better (than today's WWW).

We hope to extend the dialogue about these issues; it's the same problem in Gulag's YouTube.

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