ITP blog ยท content-and-its-discontents

Week 0 course questions

10 September 2018

Course questions

In-class exercise: attempt to answer some of the central course questions in your own words.

Rough notes transcribed from notebook:

What is "good content"? What makes "viral content"? How are they the same or not?

  • good content has cultural significance, is highly relevant to some (but not necessarily a majority or even plurality) of people
  • viral content has high engagement on a platform
  • harmful content can still be "good" under this definition (e.g. ISIS propaganda videos)

Is it useful to think of "content" vs. "container"?

  • Yes... one is reusable and typically does not change with reuse. Content might be re-used... but only through transformation.
  • Another dichotomy which might be useful here is producer vs. consumer categories.

Can content be translated across containers?

  • Yes, usually... but it might be hard to achieve high fidelity in the translation.
  • We are only constrained by the laws of physics, so all translation is possible, in theory.

Do you start with a container or with content in your work?

  • In the past, I have usually started with container, based on what's available at hand (e.g. iPhone + insta) or learning a particular technology and doing tutorials. But I'd like to change this and try to approach my work content-first.

Are platforms responsible for their content? Do users deserve compensation for user-generated content?

  • It would be hard to design a fair system... our fake-detection tech isn't good enough yet, so people could game the system if we tried to implement naive compensation economies based on engagement levels.
  • Platforms are responsible for harmful content (more so in the digital age where anonymity is easier to achieve (paradigm shift) and community-based policing is harder.
  • Marketplaces like Amazon have a stronger imperative to police their content compared to "creative" platforms-