Dunning-Kruger goes Catallactic

I’ve long had the suspicion that the Catallaxy blog is an experimental test of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The clearest examples have been Sinclair Davidson’s posts on the question of “no significant warming since 199x”, where it seems as if he is angling to get the most super-confident commentator to reveal the fact that they have no clue what statistical significance means, while being sure that they can do climate science better than those who have spent decades studying the subject.

Now, with this post by well known hip-hop artist Samuel J, the hypothesis is beyond doubt. The post itself is about as extreme an example of Dunning-Kruger as could be imagined, but clearly Sam is just daring the commentary team to outdo him. With the exception of a handful of killjoys who take the post seriously and point out how silly it is, they deliver.

Hat Tip: Harry Clarke, who scratches his head in amazement, here.

Ten years after

Ten years ago, plus or minus a few days[1], I wrote my first ever blog post. There weren’t many blogs around then, and very few of those that were around have lasted long enough to celebrate a tenth birthday. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone on my original blogroll is still around (feel free to write and tell me that you’ve been blogging since 1992, and I’ve overlooked you).

Here’s my early reaction:

My blog is just about a week old, and I haven’t found the Internet this exciting since I discovered Usenet in the early 90s. Even setting up my website five years ago was not as good. Despite wildly varying ideological views, I’ve had a friendly welcome from bloggers across the board, and I’m already getting links and referrals (My return links will be up soon, I promise). It really seems as if blogs might deliver on the original promise of the Web – certainly the technology seems ideally suited for individuals and small groups, with no obvious way of scaling it up to corporate level. No doubt I’ll get jaded and disillusioned one day, but I hope it will be a long way in the future.

Camaraderie across ideological boundaries didn’t survive long. It was killed off mainly by the debate over the Iraq war. And, eventually, the corporates found a way to get in on the act, through Facebook, Twitter and media websites. although the content is still overwhelmingly supplied by individual users, rather than paid professionals. I’ve adapted to the new reality by putting posts on high-traffic media sites, but crossposting here.

Inevitably, I’m not as excited as I was in the bright dawn of blogging, and the most optimistic hopes for the medium have not been fulfilled but after ten years I’m still not jaded or badly disillusioned. For that, I have to thank my readers, especially my commenters, as well as the many fellow bloggers who’ve given me help and encouragement along the way.

Update Another ten-year veteran, Ken Parish, who dates his startup to April or May of 2002. Ken’s post reminds me that I forgot to thank various people who have helped me with hosting the site, including our current host, Jacques Chester and, way back when, Rob Corr. Thanks so much to Jacques, Rob and the various commercial and open source services I’ve sued at different times.

fn1. A series of blog moves and crash recoveries have scrambled the archives, so that I can no longer determin an exact starting date.

Is working harder and longer really worth it?

That’s the title of my latest post at The Drum (over the fold). It’s the latest round in my long dispute with the Productivity Commission on this issue, which flared up most recently here.

This is not an issue on which I’ve been impressed with the performance of either the PC or other economists who’ve weighed in to this debate (mostly associated with the business sector). As I point out below, my analysis is mainstream textbook orthodoxy, and led me to predict the productivity “slowdown” at a time when the PC and the others were proclaiming a miracle. But my arguments get even less attention now than they did fifteen years ago, when the PC was at least willing to reply.

Read More »