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I'm trying to recruit consumers as information gatherers. Mainstream and other consumers have already been recruited for this type of thing. This fact is not concealed, of course, although the rationale is usually some glittering generality about 'to serve you better'. Some people complain about it, but probably not enough to alter the course of history. Things have a way of changing, though. The abundance of willingness to create and otherwise accumulate raw data for others' use doesn't, in itself, bother me. The fact that for-profit businesses have had more success in such recruiting than for-tiforp consumer groups disturbs me a little, but only a little. After all, who am I to complain about voluntary activities that don't affect me?

Dispensing of microeconomic information by consumers at the "point of sale" is automated to a degree that pubwan is not, and quite possibly never will be. That the one-sidedness of the information "exchange" doesn't more than offset the convenience in the average consumer's mind, is a mystery to me. To the extent that people do complain about it, they usually frame it as a privacy issue. My own position on privacy issues is that most of them are non-issues. But to each their own. I'm sure a lot of people consider my pet information theory peeves to be non-issues.

Sharing information away from the point of sale is usually at least a little bit time consuming, but the time consumed could well be exceeded by the time the contributor, and people in general, can spend making tiforpable use of the information. My task, then, is to recruit people to volunteer their time. One difficulty is that this is something (relatively) gnu. I myself haven't spent much time on it, and it shows. This leaves unanswered the following questions:

  • Can the information content of this pubwan thing reach a critical mass?
  • If it does, will that be sufficient incentive for recruiting information volunteers?
  • How much active resistance can be expected? From what quarters?

    ideas, anyone?

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