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Monday, June 19, 2017

The Game You Knew Is Gone - WSJ

I guess he liked it.

‘Philosophy,’ wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein, “is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” Baseball has found its Wittgenstein.

Or, more precisely, another Wittgenstein. Keith Law, a senior baseball writer and analyst for ESPN, is a member of the growing cohort of exasperated baseball analysts who persuasively argue against what they consider the bewitchment of the sport’s intelligence by outdated or ill-considered metrics.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 19, 2017 at 08:22 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: book review

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   1. Cargo Cultist Posted: June 19, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5478492)
Paywall. Two thumbs down.
   2. ^^^ Posted: June 19, 2017 at 09:20 AM (#5478494)
Keith Law, a senior baseball writer and analyst for ESPN, is a member of the growing cohort of exasperated baseball analysts who persuasively argue against what they consider the bewitchment of the sport’s intelligence by outdated or ill-considered metrics.


Lord, what a douch*bag.
   3. Lassus Posted: June 19, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5478497)
Paywall. Two thumbs down.

Go back to France, communist hippie, unless you want a punching.
   4. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:13 AM (#5478512)
So speaking of paywalls generally...

I'm curious if people's habits/opinions have changed over the years.

For me personally - I'm 43 and back in my teens/20s usually had a print subscription to a couple magazines (TSN and Baseball Digest in my younger/allowance days; Baseball America and usually a current events mag or two -- plus a daily paper in the early 90s/on my own). For most of the late 90/aughts -- I just pocketed the savings and pretty much satiated myself with whatever was free on the internet. I think I did one year of BPro during its halcyon days, shortly after they went subscription, but didn't renew.

In the last year or two, though -- I have finally (re)broken the seal and do have a couple of digital subscriptions now (Baseball America, a US daily newspaper, a couple other mags). I suppose part of it is just disposable income - but another big part of it is that I suppose I started to recognize sources I visited often and finally got tired of being locked out of things I wanted to read.

IOW - it took a good 15 years, but I've personally found myself no longer as anti-paywall (or at least, paywall averse) as I was once was.

Just curious if others fall into the staunch "I won't pay for digital content"; reformed, or otherwise buckets...
   5. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5478515)
Covfefe - I'm 46 and have followed a fairly similar path to you with the exception that I never considered myself "anti-paywall," I just have more disposable income now. My issue has long been that there was just enough stuff out there to read for free that I had little to no incentive to pay for content. I think providers have gotten a bit smarter about creating the kind of content that is worthwhile.

I mean the writers deserve to get paid, the provider deserves to make money, I had no "right" to expect free content, the problem was the content wasn't worth it. But to focus on the baseball end of it we have seen an evolution. Traditional outlets have caught up with "new media" (often by hiring people away) so there is something to be gained.
   6. BrianBrianson Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5478526)
I pay for Netflix, which is a form of paying for digital content (certainly, one can stream free TV and movies). But the issue is indeed whether the content is worthwhile. Very little content is.
   7. manchestermets Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5478527)
There's nothing behind a paywall at the moment I'd consider paying for. If the Guardian went behind one, I'd definitely subscribe - in fact, I used to be a subscriber even though the content is free, until there was a problem with my payment card and I didn't get round to sorting it out. I should really get round to re-upping because as Jose says in 5, the people providing the content deserve to get paid.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5478528)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.

A few others (e.g. Baseball America) I subscribe to b/c I read them a lot online.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5478533)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.


If you have a WSJ subscription, of course, you also get access to everything online. It's really helpful to have both.
   10. Rally Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5478538)
My resistance to paywalls is generally not about the money - for most sites the pay amount is pretty reasonable considering that back in the old days I would have gladly paid 3-4 bucks for a print copy at a newsstand. It's more like "oh great. One more password to remember"
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5478539)
So speaking of paywalls generally...

I'm curious if people's habits/opinions have changed over the years.

For me personally - I'm 43 and back in my teens/20s usually had a print subscription to a couple magazines (TSN and Baseball Digest in my younger/allowance days; Baseball America and usually a current events mag or two -- plus a daily paper in the early 90s/on my own). For most of the late 90/aughts -- I just pocketed the savings and pretty much satiated myself with whatever was free on the internet. I think I did one year of BPro during its halcyon days, shortly after they went subscription, but didn't renew.


I've had print subscriptions to two newspapers (the Post and the Times) ever since we moved into a house where home delivery for both of them was available. Combined they now run just under $4.50 a day with fully digital access included, and considering that that's less than the price of a large Starbucks caffe mocha, I think I've got my priorities in the right order.

We also subscribe to a handful of print magazines that come with the same digital access, but since the prices for those are cut to the bone, I barely even notice them.

So no, I don't have any problem with paywalls, but if you're going to post links to paywalled articles, you should include enough of the text to make the article's argument comprehensible in some detail. Otherwise what's the point?

   12. dog poop god Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5478541)
I don't want content, I need something to line a birdcage.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5478542)
My resistance to paywalls is generally not about the money - for most sites the pay amount is pretty reasonable considering that back in the old days I would have gladly paid 3-4 bucks for a print copy at a newsstand. It's more like "oh great. One more password to remember"

I don't know about every site's policy, but once you login with the Post or the Times you're pretty much logged in permanently, at least on your home computer.
   14. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5478543)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.


This is one thing I'm rather surprised no one has found a really good, workable digital solution to --

I.e., back in the print days, I might still grab a magazine or paper off the newsstand on occasion that I didn't subscribe to for a variety of reasons (something on the cover caught my eye or I browsed something I might want to read fully later).

There are a ton of on-demand digital payment options... and there are also a ton of "newsstand" apps -- all the things I read regularly are in a nice, neat newsstand app on my phone/tablet.

However, I don't know that I've really seen anything particularly good to drive those sort of impulse buys --- first, the general price point I've seen (usually 99 cents) for a pay per view article doesn't really cut it.

I do kind of wonder if this is where Bezos is looking to go with the Wapo and potentially other digital materials -- a virtual newsstand for impulse buys, if you will...

Everybody likes subscription revenue, of course... but - it puzzles me why there is no "venmo/paypal just for digital media" player that I know of... I.e., something would allow for the digital equivalent of picking up a paper at the newstand -- 50 cents gets 24 hour access to everything with a date of today, for example in a newspaper... or even something like a 25 cents buys you one-time, single-click access to a specific article or whatnot. What's more - I would think the digital realm offers a myriad of penny here, penny there options.

To me - that seems to be a revenue stream that print media hasn't really found a way to translate at all...
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5478548)
it puzzles me why there is no "venmo/paypal just for digital media" player that I know of... I.e., something would allow for the digital equivalent of picking up a paper at the newstand -- 50 cents gets 24 hour access to everything with a date of today, for example in a newspaper... or even something like a 25 cents buys you one-time, single-click access to a specific article or whatnot. What's more - I would think the digital realm offers a myriad of penny here, penny there options.

And they could have teasers and ad links when you're checking out on Peapod. Perfect!

Seriously, though, that does seem like a pretty good idea.
   16. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5478549)
I find the WaPO and NYT apps on my iPad to be pretty good. Actually, this is a great use for the big iPad Pro I have (12.9"). Normally it's just for watching TV shows and movies but it's actually a great size for newspaper reading. It's big enough to give that landscape feel that a newspaper gives. I think phones and even the smaller tablets are just too small to be particularly useful for newspapers. The tablets are great for book reading but for newspapers or magazines that more wide open feel enhances the experience.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5478551)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.


This is one thing I'm rather surprised no one has found a really good, workable digital solution to --

One advantage to the print edition is that the stories don't disappear from them without any notice. The Times is pretty good about keeping their print content on their front page for up to 24 hours, but half the time I try to bookmark a Post article I've read in their print edition, it's already disappeared from their website's main page and you have to go to their much-less-user friendly online "print edition" to access it. The Post is better (or I should say quicker) than the Times at posting developing stories, but the downside to that is that important stories from earlier in the news cycle are often hard to find.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5478556)
When are micropayments going to happen? Why can't I pay two cents to read this WSJ article?

My old man POV says that the browser creators need to create a built-in micropayment platform, but I guess browsers aren't the way to go.

Either way, micropayments are the answer.

   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5478560)
When are micropayments going to happen? Why can't I pay two cents to read this WSJ article?

Good question, BLB.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5478562)
If you have a WSJ subscription, of course, you also get access to everything online. It's really helpful to have both.

Except I can't seem to figure out how to get them send me my login/pw info.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5478564)
I find the WaPO and NYT apps on my iPad to be pretty good. Actually, this is a great use for the big iPad Pro I have (12.9"). Normally it's just for watching TV shows and movies but it's actually a great size for newspaper reading. It's big enough to give that landscape feel that a newspaper gives. I think phones and even the smaller tablets are just too small to be particularly useful for newspapers.

But why do I want to carry around a heavy iPad all day rather than just carry the two newspapers onto the train, and them toss them in GCT?
   22. Lassus Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5478573)
But why do I want to carry around a heavy iPad all day rather than just carry the two newspapers onto the train, and them toss them in GCT?

Because that's unbelievably wasteful.
   23. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5478576)
But why do I want to carry around a heavy iPad all day rather than just carry the two newspapers onto the train, and them toss them in GCT?


I don't. I read them at home laying in bed or on my couch. For being on the train I'd either read a physical paper or more likely a book on my Kindle.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5478581)
Because that's unbelievably wasteful.

You know, they recycle the newspapers that you throw in those big GCT bins. Also, digital devices are immensely polluting, both in the production (mining for rare earth elements) and the disposal.
   25. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5478583)
When are micropayments going to happen? Why can't I pay two cents to read this WSJ article?

My old man POV says that the browser creators need to create a built-in micropayment platform, but I guess browsers aren't the way to go.

Either way, micropayments are the answer.


Precisely. Indeed - in the digital realm, I would argue that publishers even have the option of collecting pennies they don't in a print world (i.e., "it's a newsstand not a library!").

5-10 years ago, site-to-site authentication and interaction was troublesome/somewhat perilous -- but there are many options now (still with kinks, but rapidly coming to pass).

If I could buy/have a "newsstand" account -- and spend pennies per read, wholly hands-off -- maybe bake in some spend warnings.... heck - you could even go premium and double the pennies to eliminate at least multimedia ads.
   26. Cargo Cultist Posted: June 19, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5478584)
Either way, micropayments are the answer.


And we have a winner. I just want to read an article, not start another goddamned monthly subscription.
   27. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 19, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5478591)
So the model is this:

An app + browser plug-in that I can either stitch to a bank account or load up myself with funds. Individual articles reads cost pennies (say a nickle a piece or somesuch). You could even do some manner of premium/value-adds -- double the 4 cents to 8 cents and read free of annoying multimedia ads (simple graphics, fine - but disable all those damnable html5/js autoplays). Further - allow reads/access to either be transient or permanent - another penny or two, you can 'keep' a copy... forward it on (within certain confines), save it for later, etc... or - your access last a limited amount of time from point of access.

The application could also even be a driver towards subscription revenue --- if I'm just spending 50 cents a day or a buck or two a week on reading paywall material, it would be very for destinations to track your usage and feed back usage reports to said app (i.e., "did you know you already spent half an annual subscription to WSJ on PPV reads?")

Posts on BBTF count as patent submissions, right?
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5478597)
Posts on BBTF count as patent submissions, right?

IANAPL, but I work with a bunch of them - unfortunately, it seems like what you're describing is exactly the kind of thing that is no longer patentable after Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l..
   29. BrianBrianson Posted: June 19, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5478601)
Individual articles reads cost pennies (say a nickle a piece or somesuch).


Yeah, this is the real problem. The cost of one-off buys for anything are so high, I always balk. More likely, whoever does this is going to want 99 cents/article, and I'm going to say "Pardon my French, but Je m'en Crisse !" Netflix, I pay 30-something cents a day - or about one cent per episode of Aquanauts. If they were asking iTunes rates, I wouldn't pay.
   30. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 19, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5478625)
Keith Law writing a book that includes "the Right Way to Think About Baseball" in its subtitle is too perfect. George Will reviewing it in the Wall Street Journal is even better.
   31. Textbook Editor Posted: June 19, 2017 at 01:17 PM (#5478644)
We have a Sunday print + digital subscription to the NYT, and Mrs. TE has a few free-ish mag subscriptions from points from somewhere or other, but that's about it print/digital subscription wise (though we do have Netflix).

I had a New Yorker subscription for 10+ years that I let lapse once TE Jr. was born, because I found I could never finish issues (the Sunday NYTimes is a similar problem), because I don't have the free time (kids will do that to you). But I have thought of late of re-upping the New Yorker and also pledging for the Guardian, because I want to support the former and definitely use the latter all the time to follow soccer (and, increasingly, global news coverage)... Both are on my to-do list for the summer.

As an editor, of course, I think writers should be paid (as should any content creators); like many others I'd support a micropayment scheme that allowed, say, viewing an article for 10 cents or what not. At .10 cents a view, if you had 1,000 people pay, you'd generate $100 in revenue, which--while it wouldn't cover the overhead costs of a big news organization--would, it seems, be a decent dent in the cost of the writer payment a lot of websites are paying. Now, granted, you'd need 1,000 people to agree that a certain amount of content is worth 10 cents, but it would certain seem plausible in a lot of cases... Would I pay 10 cents to read an extended interview with the Spurs manager, or the latest Michael Cox article on tactics in the Guardian? Yeah, I probably would. Would I pay 10 cents to read a Red Sox game recap? Probably not... so it depends on the content. YMMV.
   32. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 19, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5478649)
Dumb question time; are micropayments feasible? One of the big problems there is it sounds like a logistical and tracking nightmare. You'd have ######## ######## that they didn't really read the article and want their money back, people who "accidentally" clicked on the article and then some poor shmoe who has to track 7,268 payments of 2 cents. I'm exaggerating for effect obviously but I can see it being a bit more of a hassle than is worth it.

Just thinking through, at 2 cents a view I need 500 clicks to cover one $9.99 subscription. I don't know whether that would track or not but I suspect by their behavior we know what the existing newspapers think.
   33. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5478664)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.


I have the same issue, though I have to concede, the way the WSJ app has improved that's less of a problem. I still receive and prefer the physical copies, but when I travel, it is great to rely on the app.
   34. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 19, 2017 at 01:40 PM (#5478668)
Just make the answers "Take it up with the credit card company bub."

But really there's still too much free stuff available for any of this to work. For news I head over to the BBC, which is completely free. The Times is really good for analysis, but they let you read ten articles for free per month, and there aren't that many months when I really need more than ten pieces of analysis from the Times.
   35. BrianBrianson Posted: June 19, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5478681)
Although can I just saying, all y'all talking about getting newspapers delivered to your home makes me feel like so young. I wasn't aware home delivery of newspapers was still a thing. Most newspaper boxes are just public ashtrays/urinals these days.
   36. Morty Causa Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5478698)
‘Philosophy,’ wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein, “is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” Baseball has found its Wittgenstein.

Just out of curiosity, how is this determinable, one way or the other, without using language? And if language doesn't count, what are you using--or, rather, how do you express whatever you are using to make your case.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5478705)
I subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines. The WSJ and NY Post I read in physical copies in the morning. I find reading a newspaper online is far less efficient.

Wait, the New York Post??!!! I'm beginning to see where some of your views are coming from.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although can I just saying, all y'all talking about getting newspapers delivered to your home makes me feel like so young. I wasn't aware home delivery of newspapers was still a thing.

I often take walks in the morning around the neighborhood that encompass about 10 blocks. Other than our own house, I've seen about half a dozen other Washington Posts in people's driveways, and exactly two New York Times. That's probably down at least 50% from when we moved out here back in 1991.

Most newspaper boxes are just public ashtrays/urinals these days.

I can only imagine. When I moved into Adams-Morgan in the early 70's, there were vending machines on every corner and an out-of-town newsstand at 18th & Columbia where you could get papers from all over the world, plus the Late City edition of the Times. Talk about an extinct species, and I haven't seen a Late City edition of the Times outside of New York in years.
   38. Greg K Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5478708)
I don't want content, I need something to line a birdcage.

I pick up a local newspaper once every couple months in order to catch the clippings when I cut my hair.

I did recently take up a print subscription of The Economist which I am enjoying and will re-up.
   39. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5478714)
Keith Law writing a book that includes "the Right Way to Think About Baseball" in its subtitle is too perfect. George Will reviewing it in the Wall Street Journal is even better.


I got the feeling from reading the review that Will hated the book, but knew he'd sound like an ignorant fuddy-duddy if he gave his real opinion. So he reviewed it with a lot of bloodless references to Wittgenstein, rather than engaging with the content.
   40. dlf Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:35 PM (#5478720)
Dumb question time; are micropayments feasible? ... and then some poor shmoe who has to track 7,268 payments of 2 cents.


Absolutely. You won't have any schmoe tracking this; it'll all be automated. One of the things a company I was affiliated with did was life-of-loan tax monitoring for mortgages. Simple version is that for the 15-20-30 years of the mortgage, we would review the information from taxing authorities (usually county, sometimes municipality, and occasionally 'utilities districts') determine the amounts due and the due dates, ensure that the mortgage escrow account was properly set up, and process the payment. If you had to do that for a single home owner manually, it would probably take 60-90 minutes every year or, since most mortgages get paid off before the maturity date, something like 15 hours for each loan. If you pay some minimum wage schmoe, the fully loaded cost would be north of $150. But through automation, we were able to charge under $40 and have a HUGE profit margin on the product. The micropayment processing will be done through automation that makes the upfront cost notable, but virtually nothing to operate.
   41. Greg K Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5478723)
‘Philosophy,’ wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein, “is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” Baseball has found its Wittgenstein.

Just out of curiosity, how is this determinable, one way or the other, without using language? And if language doesn't count, what are you using--or, rather, how do you express whatever you are using to make your case.


I've actually written an essay on Wittgenstein, and am also using a zippy Wittgenstein quote in an article I'm working on. But I have no idea how to go about answering that. My understanding of Wittgenstein on language is that he has no time for pedantry. Language only has meaning in human usage, but he saw a lot of time being wasted arguing over what words meant, rather than what people meant by their words.

EDIT: In other words, language isn't the enemy, full-stop. But it can be "bewitching" when we treat language as separate or distinct from reality or human activity.

I'm sure there are many people here who know Wittgenstein far better than me that can point out where I'm wrong here.
   42. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5478725)
I got the feeling from reading the review that Will hated the book, but knew he'd sound like an ignorant fuddy-duddy if he gave his real opinion. So he reviewed it with a lot of bloodless references to Wittgenstein, rather than engaging with the content.

Would you then characterize the review as piffle or not piffle?
   43. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:42 PM (#5478727)
Dumb question time; are micropayments feasible? One of the big problems there is it sounds like a logistical and tracking nightmare. You'd have ######## ######## that they didn't really read the article and want their money back, people who "accidentally" clicked on the article and then some poor shmoe who has to track 7,268 payments of 2 cents. I'm exaggerating for effect obviously but I can see it being a bit more of a hassle than is worth it.


Oh sure --

Plenty of those stupid 'freemium' games/apps work in precisely this manner and most digital payment services easily support micropayments.

You would need a ToS to avoid the overhead of dealing with penny watcher complaints -- but you could easily do things in the application to protect against various accidental or malicious account usage (i.e., since this is a PPV service, it stands to reason that something's gone awry if an account ID suddenly tries to 'buy' 10 articles in a minute, etc). You could also give users the option of sliding confirmation -- i.e., "always confirm" vs "confirm if X" vs "confirm if X over Y" (like start asking for confirms if I buy 10 articles in an hour/day/whatever).

Beyond that, though -- functioning strictly as a piece of middleware is relatively easy.... It would real be no different than the ubiquitous way virtually every publisher has their little faceboook/tumblr/reddit/etc widgets -- architecturally, you're just binding a user ID to an object ID (probably nestled under a publisher/source ID).

That would be the big trick -- such an app/service would publisher buy-in.... but then, I also think you could open possibilities for the publishers, too... just like Uber/Lyft are able to model pricing based on demand, so too, could such a service. So long as you keep the limit low - i.e., measured in pennies -- is anyone going to care that the individual pricing per article moves within, say, a 1 cent to 10 cent range? You could expand further to provide discounts/credits/etc for things like sharing PPV pieces and having secondary/recipient users click-through in such a fashion (many social media sites already do this lots of this -- no, Mark Zuckerberg ain't cutting anyone check if you copy/paste X... but they are, of course, doing tons of data intelligence around who posts what and who then accesses what someone else posts). This leads to a wealth of information that in and of itself, could eventually have a lot of value.

In effect, this model already somewhat exists at larger, enterprise levels -- lots of libraries and such use proxy services to manage digital subscriptions, for example.
   44. Greg K Posted: June 19, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5478730)
   45. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 19, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5478749)
Not currently a subscriber to the WSJ, but I enjoyed having it when I did subscribe (it's been a few years). It's an excellent publication, but I just don't have the time to read it enough to where subscribing would be worthwhile at present. I have no idea whether it would be profitable for them to switch, but I would definitely be down for paying per article.
   46. GGC Posted: June 19, 2017 at 04:39 PM (#5478786)
WRT to physical newspapers, I like to pick one up a couple of times a week. They push stories out to me that I normally wouldn't read if I had to click on them. So I suppose that this habit makes me better informed than I would've been otherwise; especially about local news. What I'm missing right now is good state level news. One source that I used to read frequently has gone seriously downhill.
   47. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 19, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5478794)
I got the feeling from reading the review that Will hated the book, but knew he'd sound like an ignorant fuddy-duddy if he gave his real opinion. So he reviewed it with a lot of bloodless references to Wittgenstein, rather than engaging with the content.

Piffle.
   48. Morty Causa Posted: June 19, 2017 at 04:55 PM (#5478795)
Can't say I understand someone who complains about language by relying on nitpicking semantics and loud and noisy logomachy. It's like complaining about air. What else is there?

My understanding of Wittgenstein on language is that he has no time for pedantry. Language only has meaning in human usage, but he saw a lot of time being wasted arguing over what words meant, rather than what people meant by their words.

Well, that is a good point. We all feel that way--about that other guy.
   49. Baldrick Posted: June 19, 2017 at 06:53 PM (#5478859)
Just out of curiosity, how is this determinable, one way or the other, without using language? And if language doesn't count, what are you using--or, rather, how do you express whatever you are using to make your case.

“The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation: it was a requirement.) The conflict becomes intolerable; the requirement is now in danger of becoming empty. -- We have got on to slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!”

Wittgenstein was rather famously unimpressed with the techniques of philosophical logic. Even in his early years, when he himself was a practitioner of those techniques. We USE language, and quite obviously are capable of doing many things with it. But the idea that language brings us any closer to Knowledge is a category error. So to answer your question, the whole point of the section that quote is drawn from is: "there is only language." The fact that it is messy and incomplete and perpetually in motion is precisely what gives it force.

Anyways, Keith Law is certainly no Wittgenstein.
   50. dog poop god Posted: June 19, 2017 at 07:07 PM (#5478867)

I pick up a local newspaper once every couple months in order to catch the clippings when I cut my hair.


And that's a pretty nice haircut/

I like Wittgenstein, but I don't know what it means.
   51. dog poop god Posted: June 19, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5478868)
In Law's defense, he will always write back. If just to call you an ignorant slut.
   52. Zach Posted: June 19, 2017 at 08:01 PM (#5478901)
There are a few problems with micropayments, although they could probably be worked out eventually.

1) There's a big incentive for the publisher to chisel you on the price per article. Why settle for 1 cent when you can ask for two? Why two cents if you can ask for a nickel? If I don't want to get chiseled, does that mean I have to manually authorize the price for every single article I read?
2) Even more listicles and ten page slideshows.

I'm not sure what's the best way to divvy up the amount I'd be willing to pay per day among the sites I'd like to visit, but I'm pretty sure it isn't 99 cents per article.
   53. stevegamer Posted: June 19, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5478918)
Once I saw the article was written by Law, I chose not to click through to even find out if it's behind a paywall.

I have physical subscriptions to 2 newspapers, and no online subscriptions to anything that doesn't come free with those. The Philadelphia Inqurer fails to deliver my Sunday-only edition right about once every two months, sadly. I subscribe to my town's weekly local paper to get it to come in the mail to me for free. The coupons pay fro the subscription, and the reading is a bonus.

I'm clearly a dinosaur.


   54. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 19, 2017 at 08:54 PM (#5478926)
Whoa, a (partial) Wittgenstein thread.

And if language doesn't count, what are you using--or, rather, how do you express whatever you are using to make your case.


In language, of course. The early* Wittgenstein took it that philosophical problems are a result of trying to use language to say what cannot be said; it gives you, as it were, a framework in which to think and communicate, but it doesn't let you say anything about the framework itself. Now, in saying this, Wittgenstein was, of course, trying to use language to talk about this framework, which is why he famously concludes his first book by saying that those who have understood him will realize that everything that he has said is nonsense. You are supposed to (to use his metaphor) use his writing as a ladder, and then kick it away once you've reached the top. It will (to be somewhat less metaphorical) show you how things stand, without literally saying that they are that way.

* Wittgenstein changed his mind about philosophy mid way through his career, and in his later work he repudiated much of his early work. That, at least, is the usual way to interpret him. (Some Wittgenstein scholars try to find continuity between the two periods, but it's a bit of a stretch.)
   55. The Duke Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:33 PM (#5478962)
The Guardian. I've been forced away from my beloved daily telegraph by their crazy expensive paywall. Now I read the guardian and realize the other half of the world is bat-#### crazy. It's funny to see that the left and the right don't just disagree. They talk about completely different things altogether.

I still like the hard copy of the newspaper. I read a lot of things that I never read in the digital world because it's right there staring you in the face.

My morning croissant and cafe au lait on Gloucester road is not the same reading an I-pad.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2017 at 08:02 AM (#5479015)
So what does the Telegraph "talk about"? AFAICR from the last time I read it back in the late 80's, in terms of opinion it was Thatcherite, the rough equivalent of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Is it any different now?
   57. kthejoker Posted: June 20, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5479034)
The W3C Web Payments group is releasing cross browser APIs this year. Micropayments will be de facto in a couple of years. And probably in Bitcoin...
   58. Morty Causa Posted: June 20, 2017 at 09:25 AM (#5479046)
Wittgenstein was rather famously unimpressed with the techniques of philosophical logic. Even in his early years, when he himself was a practitioner of those techniques. We USE language, and quite obviously are capable of doing many things with it. But the idea that language brings us any closer to Knowledge is a category error. So to answer your question, the whole point of the section that quote is drawn from is: "there is only language." The fact that it is messy and incomplete and perpetually in motion is precisely what gives it force.

That's what I think, took, whatever it is. But, then, his complaint answers itself and is self-defeating.
   59. Morty Causa Posted: June 20, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5479050)
In language, of course. The early* Wittgenstein took it that philosophical problems are a result of trying to use language to say what cannot be said; it gives you, as it were, a framework in which to think and communicate, but it doesn't let you say anything about the framework itself. Now, in saying this, Wittgenstein was, of course, trying to use language to talk about this framework, which is why he famously concludes his first book by saying that those who have understood him will realize that everything that he has said is nonsense. You are supposed to (to use his metaphor) use his writing as a ladder, and then kick it away once you've reached the top. It will (to be somewhat less metaphorical) show you how things stand, without literally saying that they are that way.

That kind of reminds me of the explanations I've read on Kurt Godel. But, you end up with--what else you got? The whole thing reeks of being a gadfly and kibitzer. Thus, I revert to my original complaint. Those are the cards. Play them or get out of the game.
   60. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5479168)
What Godel showed is that there is a difference between proof and truth. In any formal system strong enough to do arithmetic you can construct something that says, essentially, "this sentence has no proof". If the sentence is true, then it has no proof. If it's false, then it has a proof. Either way, being true and being provable are not the same thing. So if you're going to have a system that you can use to do math, there will be true sentences in that system that it cannot prove. (That's why it's called his 'incompleteness theorem', systems that are strong enough to do arithmetic are incomplete in the sense that they can't prove all of the true things that can be said with them.)
   61. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 20, 2017 at 12:42 PM (#5479180)
Micropayments will be de facto in a couple of years. And probably in Bitcoin...

So there might be an uptick in revenue for raving libertarian/doomsday prepper websites. The rest, probably not so much.
   62. Howie Menckel Posted: June 20, 2017 at 01:18 PM (#5479215)
It seems like more thought has been given to paying for journalism on this thread than many publishers have ever spent, alas.
   63. Baldrick Posted: June 20, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5479231)
That kind of reminds me of the explanations I've read on Kurt Godel. But, you end up with--what else you got? The whole thing reeks of being a gadfly and kibitzer. Thus, I revert to my original complaint. Those are the cards. Play them or get out of the game.

Wittgenstein was certainly a gadfly, and sure doesn't seem like he would have been much fun to hang around with. But he absolutely would endorse the principle that it's better to spend your time doing actual things (whether with words or your hands or whatever) than it is fighting endlessly about how to understand words. He is philosophically interesting precisely because his work so thoroughly bursts the balloons of many (most? all?) of history's great philosophical conundrums and theories.

He was disgusted with much of the infrastructure surrounding 'philosophy,' and took a number of long breaks from philosophy, including volunteering to fight in World War 1, and then almost a decade teaching math in a primary school in a tiny village. He was a very very strange duck.
   64. Morty Causa Posted: June 20, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5479321)
60:

Thanks. Food for thought.

63:

Boy, he sure seems so.
   65. Baldrick Posted: June 20, 2017 at 04:15 PM (#5479391)
Boy, he sure seems so.

Other fun facts:
- His family was one of the most wealthy in all of fin de siècle Vienna - of Jewish heritage but converted to Christianity, which wasn't super helpful once the Nazis rolled in. They were major players in the art scene, supporting folks like Klimt.
- He had perfect pitch, but found the music of his era to be ghastly
- Brahms was a close family friend. Strauss, Schoenberg, and Mahler were very much in their circle
- He was a hotshot engineering prodigy, who got bored with it and decided to go to Cambridge to study philosophy under Frege, but ended up getting stuck with Bertrand Russell
- He took a break in the midst of his phd to go live in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in Norway, where he wanted to spend time with his platonic lover
- He famously (probably) threatened Karl Popper with a hot poker drawn from the fire
- He worked as a nurse in London during World War II, working very hard to avoid letting anyone know that he was a world famous philosopher

He's arguably the single most important thinker in two (mostly antithetical) philosophical traditions. Despite being a royal pain in the ass (and extremely personally unpleasant to them), folks like Russell, G.E. Moore, Keynes, and Frank Ramsey undertook massive efforts to get him a professorship at Cambridge and keep him supported. And he never actually published anything either. His Philosophical Investigations were finally culled together posthumously.
   66. Shibal Posted: June 20, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5479406)
The W3C Web Payments group is releasing cross browser APIs this year. Micropayments will be de facto in a couple of years. And probably in Bitcoin...


Bitcoin doesn't handle micropayments well anymore...will probably have to have a 3rd party like Paypal-lite to do the payment transfers.

Brave is a new browser that has built in ad-blocker, but also a way to support your favorite websites through micropayments. A user donates a certain sum each month, and that money is divided up between the sites that the user visited. Interesting concept, but dependent on a user's generosity. So probably won't work.

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