On recommending

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“Recommended for you” is a personal suggestion, a sign of good taste. You hope the other will like it.

On recommending

The problem is that most online recommendation “agents” (in their depersonalised form) just listen. They’re just doing math. It would’ve been more honest if it was called exactly what it was “Others also bought/saw”, instead of the semi-personal “recommended for you”.

When you recommend, highlight something at your account, there is no reason not to assume you mean it, as in for real. So when YouTube or Facebook is highlighting shit randomly uploaded by morons and they highlight that crap, you’re right to assume you’re dealing with something who genuinely likes shit made by morons, in other words, the recommendation agent has an as messed up personality as the creators. And hence we learn: Youtube, Facebook, they’re messed up. You can’t say welcome women and then recommend a video to the next person in line about how to “play” women. You can’t say hail diversity and at the same time recommend right wing anti-Muslim propaganda.

Either choose to be a neutral unopinionated platform or know what you’re actually recommending and stand behind it as if you mean it.

It is perfectly ok to personalise, and even through the use of algorithms, but make sure your agent doesn’t become a psychopath. Automated recommendations may work reasonably well if you know all content, or at least know that it conforms to a minimum quality and moral standard (While writing this post I read that Youtube might actually just be doing this for their Kids section). You can’t be Breitbart and The New Yorker at the same time.

Otherwise, just shut up, and just show the damn timeline, the raw unfiltered content. Unadjusted, transparent, be the true fair and open libertarian that you pretend to be.

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