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   Re: [xml-dev] Rigged Aggregators?

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On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 14:46:24 -0600, Bullard, Claude L (Len)
<len.bullard@intergraph.com> wrote:
> Possibly, but just saying he is crazy is more likely to
> make him believable where such things are believed.  The
> web has a funny habit of denying things are possible that
> prove to be very possible.  Email viruses are a notable
> example.  Over time, the amount of effort required to
> secure web resources is proving inordinately expensive.
> Put the contexts together and the willing believe.

The whole blog is nothing but nonsense.  The signal to noise level is
so low I find it strange that you even feel it worth noting.  You've
given the whole thing more attention than it would have ever received

> What is interesting in that blog:
> 1.  He names names.  One of them is a frequent contributor
> to this list.  That's bad.

Contributors to this list live some of their life in public.  That
makes them potential candidates for this kind of attention.  In this
particular case there is nothing concrete to respond to, it's all

The chain of (apparently random) association seems to be something like: 

-> elections use lists;
-> lists are aggregations;
-> there are companies and things on the web that do aggregation; 
-> XML is used in some of these things and by some of these companies;
-> someone with expertise in XML who helped author one of the tools
also has security clearance (and his CV was available via Google or
-> conspiracy to rig election lists.

> 2.  He insinuates RSS aggregators are used in Federal elections.
> Not as far as I know.  Maybe other aggregators are and if so,
> is his scenario implausible?  Probably.  Impossible?  No and
> that is why this kind of article gets legs.

Of course there are aggregators used in elections; aggregation is part
of computing.  Nothing new or note worthy here.  Even if RSS
aggregators were used the fact that if you feed some of them garbage
they produce garbage is hardly news.

> 3.  He cites the ChoicePoint fiasco.  That is a big fiasco.
> Don't know if they use RSS aggregators.  They do aggregate
> and they were bilked but by a social ploy, not a technical one.
> Still, we've all seen the power of the comment lifted out of
> context and put into a fertile field.

Random association of two things currently in the news...

> It is better to debunk than to deride.  Again, he is citing
> tech that is pretty dear to the people on this list and the
> web is a fabulous promoter of superstitions.  Loco conspiracies
> are often accepted until debunked, and true conspiracies are
> sometimes outed by loco sources.

Spend your effort where it's needed.  If anything is needed here (and
it's not clear that there is anything needed) it is for the people
with the knowledge of the cited technologies and companies to stand up
and say "this is nonsense".  Nothing more; a point by point rebuttal
is impossible since none of the "points" are coherent enough for real
true rebuttal.


Peter Hunsberger


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