[MUD-Dev] Content authorship

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 15 19:27:16 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Sunday 14 October 2001 05:33, Adam Martin wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ola Fosheim Grøstad" <olag at ifi.uio.no>

>> Hmm... I've said this before and will say it again, it does not
>> entirely depend on what IS, but the agency we assign to it,
>> i.e. the

>>       Heat.
>>       Green flowers.
>>       White pain.
>>       Destruction.

>> Assume that the above text was written by:

>>   1. your girlfriend

>>   2. a simple random poem generator program

>> The authorship clearly matters, a lot.

> No, that's a sweeping generalization that isn't necessarily
> true. I've noticed that a lot of scientists and/or highly logical
> people tend to say the authorship doesn't matter, whereas many
> literary people say it does.  Personally, to me there is no
> difference between 1 and 2 - I would (and in similar situations
> have done) say that I think its rubbish either way (if thats what
> I thought based purely on an evaluation of the text).

I think you may be missing the point -- I don't think Ola is saying
that authorship makes a difference to the value of what's authored,
but rather that it makes a difference to our perception of the
motivations and mental state of the author.

In the first case, you might think, "Wow, she must have been
depressed when she wrote this."  If you knew she had just written
it, you might ask her if she's OK, or what's wrong.

On the other hand, if your girlfriend likes to write depressing
poetry with images of destruction, you might think different things.

And, of course, knowing that it came from a random poem generator,
you're certainly not going to think that the random generator must
have been depressed!

The original comparison, of course, was to algorithmically generated
content for a mud.  Let's say you come across a smoldering ruin of a
village in an area that you've never been in before.  Just as with
the poem, your thoughts about the village are likely to depend on
your perception of how things are created in the mud.

If you know/believe that all content on the mud is custom-created to
fit into a background, then you'll likely conclude that there's
probably something in the area that burns down villages.  On the
other end, if you know/believe that content is randomly generated
without any regard for whether it makes sense or not, then you'll
know that the likelihood of something that can burn down villages
being in the area is no greater here than it is anywhere else in the

       |\      _,,,---,,_     Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-' 
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