Fri, 19 May 2006 08:02:30 -0700 I'm sorry, this was sent because my 1.5 year old son found the computer. I'll complete this response later. On 5/19/06, Ben Tilly <btilly@gmail.com> wrote: > On 5/18/06, Stephen J. Turnbull <stephen@xemacs.org> wrote: > > >>>>> "Ben" == Ben Tilly <btilly@gmail.com> writes: > > > > Ben> Given the known power laws governing the distribution of > > Ben> articles of interest for researchers, it is extremely > > Ben> unlikely that Metcalfe's Law applies in Tom's setting. > > > > Get out of your ivory tower, man! The fact that it's not interesting > > to you doesn't mean that it's not interesting to somebody. > > Of course most of us are interesting to someone. My point was that > very, very few of us are interesting to everyone . Therefore most > people do not derive much value from the potential connections to most > other people. > > > The point that Tom is making is that from the point of view of the > > distribution network, documents become a homogeneous commodity since > > finding "something interesting to the customer" is O(1), not O(N) > > (where N is the number of documents). > > > > That is the assumption you need to discuss. But on the basis of that > > assumption, your "known power laws" do not apply to the distribution > > network. > > Sorry, but you've completely misunderstood my argument, probably > because I did not provide it. > > Bradford's Law (sorry, I mixed the name up with Benford's Law) says > how many interesting articles a researcher will find after searching a > given number of journals. From Bradford's Law, for a large number of > journals n, the number of articles of interest that can be found will > be proportional to log(n). The number that a researcher will find > using a traditional library search will be fixed because researchers > do not actually search more than a few journals. So the actual value > (measured here in number of articles found) will be between a fixed > number and proportional to the log of the number of articles that are > available. The actual number will depend greatly on how effective the > search techniques are that the researcher can use (Google is very > effective). > > Note that this is very, very far from being linear per person. > > Now one can argue many details of this example in trying to project > out to the value of all articles across all researchers. For instance > not all researchers are created equal, but from Lotka's law of > scientific productivity, given n researchers of a minimum level of > productivity, the excess from some being better than the others is > about n * log(n) * that level of productivity. Conversely not all > interesting articles are created equal. However Zipf's law allows us > to project that if you find k articles above a threshold of interest, > then the most intersting should be k times as interesting as the > threshold. From which one can add another potential factor of log(n). > However people have a limited amount of attention that they can give, > so one can *also* use Zipf's Law to project that your total interest > in the fixed number of best articles that you can read is directly > proportional to how many articles there were of a threshold where you > would previously have called them interesting. > > So across all of these factors the best estimate could be artued to n log(n) > > > >> Tom isn't talking about a mature network, he's talking about > > >> one in its infancy. > > > > Ben> True, but I suspect that doesn't matter much. My point about > > Ben> mature vs immature is one of size, not age. > > > > Ben> That is, there is a significant difference between being part > > Ben> of a network of 1000 people and one of 100,000 people. But > > Ben> the difference between 100,000 and 10,000,000 is not just a > > Ben> big gap. So until you hit significant size, the larger > > Ben> competitor has a significant advantage. After you both hit > > Ben> significant size, this advantage becomes fairly small. > > > > No. The *absolute advantage* continues to increase as size increases. > > The fact that rate of increase is *positive* is what matters at the > > margin. In the contexts where your argument makes sense the absolute > > advantage *decreases* at the margin. > > > > >> Also, you should remember that in terms of dynamics, a mature > > >> industry will be increasing with the rest of the economy, ie, > > >> exponentially. In an industry where costs can be expected to > > >> fall while prices are rising linearly with time ... I'm sure > > >> you can draw the picture, too. > > > > Ben> In a competitive industry, sometimes falling costs result in > > Ben> falling prices and profits that might go up and might go > > Ben> down... > > > > This industry is not going to be competitive unless its organization > > changes radically. That's Tom's thesis. > > > > Ben> However size is not the only factor. While collaborative > > Ben> content is big and will get bigger, there are limits to what > > Ben> you can do with it. For instance wikipedia has a > > Ben> demonstrated history of accidentally *discouraging* experts > > Ben> from getting involved > > > > It's not an accident, it's essential (cf. Fred Brooks). I won't touch > > Wikipedia in my areas of expertise. I didn't need to experience it in > > that context to know what I would be getting into. And it's quite > > clear that Wikipedia is mostly written by wannabes, incompletely > > researched and content-biased. Often enough there's a clear political > > bias, too. > > > > It is nonetheless extremely useful, because for any given human the > > set of knowledge for which he has even wannabe status is of measure > > zero. And it may be successful enough to evoke a Gresham's Law of > > Encyclopedias unless somebody figures out a way to take advantage of > > the medium for high quality encyclopedias. That's where Tom is going. > > > > However, it is that "Gresham's Law" that convinces me that copyright > > will continue to have a role indefinitely. It is just wishful > > thinking to believe that people in general will contribute their > > expertise to *others'* areas of interest unless they are directly > > compensated for not blathering about what interests them most. > > > > -- > > Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering University of Tsukuba > > http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp/ Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN > > Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems > > Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory > > >