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Apr 05 2013

Things I Learned: YouTube Edition

It’s good practice to say very publicly from time to time when you’ve gotten something wrong. I did that earlier today.

Thunderf00t has a new YouTube video up about how feminism is destroying all that is unholy. Ophelia has a bit of discussion of the details here.

When I clicked through to YouTube I saw something that made me laugh. The video showed 301 views and 1,798 upvoted.

I took a screen capture (which WordPress doesn’t want to load) and tweeted the picture, along with a comment about people evaluating the merits of the argument. A few people commented. A few people retweeted me. We all thought it was bizarre.

Then Rebecca let me know that YouTube just does that. Something about that many views triggering a review. (I’m paraphrasing, so any additional errors are mine, not hers.) The correct number won’t show up for several hours.

That’s both non-obvious and not nearly as funny.

So I took down the tweet and let the people who had retweeted it know what was going on. And now I tell you as a reminder (to myself as well) that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong as long as you own up to it and learn.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    leftwingfox

    And now I tell you as a reminder (to myself as well) that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong as long as you own up to it and learn.

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.

  2. 2
    SallyStrange

    Acceptance of being wrong is kind of foundational to being a skeptic. Ideally.

  3. 3
    Ace of Sevens

    The vote count is up-to-the-minute and the view count is not.

  4. 4
    Worldtraveller

    As a very infrequent u-tube viewer who doesn’t pay attention to up-votes or views, what exactly does that mean? It implies the you-tube software auto-up-votes videos? Such that it shows more votes than views?

  5. 5
    LeftSidePositive

    And, it’s always 300 views that triggers it (it’s to prevent people from using bots to get their view counts up), so you will frequently see views stall out on exactly 301, and that means it is getting reviewed.

  6. 6
    LeftSidePositive

    Fastlane, it just means that the viewcount shown to the public stalls at 301 so someone can make sure those views are legit, but the upvote counter isn’t similarly stopped, so a video in review can have thousands of votes (either way) while its viewcount stays at 301.

  7. 7
    glodson

    And now I tell you as a reminder (to myself as well) that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong as long as you own up to it and learn.

    That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant. No one gets everything right, and no one knows everything. We all make mistakes, or get bad information, or just don’t have all the necessary information.

    The trick is to assume responsibility for being wrong, to seek to eliminate the ignorance, and to be honest with yourself.

    Too bad many are quick to jump down the throats of others for merely being wrong and yet will defend their own ignorance and errors tooth and nail.

  8. 8
    Parlyne

    It seems that this is a common enough confusion that Brady Haran at Numberphile went and interviewed a Youtube product manager about it. The resulting video is here.

  9. 9
    left0ver1under

    The real question is, how do we give “thumbs down” to his videos without adding to the view count.

  10. 10
    The Pick Man

    @left0ver1under. Why would you want to ‘thumbs down’ if you hadn’t viewed the video?

  11. 11
    tiberiusbeauregard

    @Stephanie Zvan

    The REAL question is a completely different one:

    How could you see this “obvious discrepancy”, then draw your conclusion “this cannot possibly correct” and THEN think that you’re the first person ever to notice such an OBVIOUS dissonance ?

    Do you really trust your thought processes really that much, although “reality check” should’ve indicated otherwise immediately ?

  12. 12
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’m not sure what you mean. I’m hardly the first person to notice that Tf00t fans aren’t engaging with his arguments. If they were, wouldn’t they notice the fallacies?

  13. 13
    Ariel

    To all of you, but especially to glodson #7: you are quite right and I could have written comment #7 myself. Not even a trace of disagreement between us.

    I would like to see the world where we react in such an excellent way to our enemies – not allies – making mistakes and admitting them. That’s far more difficult. Remember?

  14. 14
    John Morales

    glodson:

    There’s nothing wrong with being wrong.

    You’re wrong.

  15. 15
    Sheesh

    John Morales is right.

    (You’re less likely in a Bayesian sense to perform right actions based on wrong beliefs, so it’s a moral obligation to ‘be less wrong’. I.e., there’s not nothing wrong with being wrong. Being wrong can and does lead to harm.)

  16. 16
    Stephanie Zvan

    John Morales is quote mining.

  17. 17
    Daniel Schealler

    For those interested in the number 301 on Youtube:

    Why do YouTube views freeze at 301? (numberphile)

  18. 18
    Daniel Schealler

    Bugger. Parlyne beat me to it. :p

    Sorry Parlyne, missed your comment on the first read-through.

  19. 19
    Sheesh

    I could have done a better job in my last comment. If there’s a trick to being wrong as Glodson puts it, then there’s not nothing wrong with being wrong. It’s contradictory to put it that way.

    So, yes it was a quote mine. I agree, but for effect, since Glodson’s restating of your point in the second paragraph negates the complete sentence as quoted. The point being made is you are right, Stephanie, because of your qualification, but Glodson was wrong to omit the qualification (and leave the bare assertion). As you say, owning up to it and learning are the parts that make you less wrong, that’s “the trick”, we are all agreeing that there is something wrong with being wrong if you don’t go about trying to, and are willing to be less wrong. (To which I’m saying because staying wrong has consequences as you both imply, otherwise, why not stay wrong.)

    I’m sure you’re familiar with John’s M.O.

    (In his way, he was supporting you while urging Glodson to clarify hir rhetoric.)

  20. 20
    John Morales

    Sheesh, I’m male.

    Stephanie, if I quote-mined then I must have been misrepresenting what I quoted glodson as writing; and since what I quoted was “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong.”, it must therefore be the case that glodson was not claiming that “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong.”, and it therefore follows that both I and glodson are claiming that it is not true that “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong.”

  21. 21
    John Morales

    [OT + oops]

    Sheesh, duh. You meant glodson.

    (I think glodson is male but I may be misremembering)

  22. 22
    Ariel

    John Morales #20

    Well, I think that you quote-mined. I think also that you still got it completely wrong.

    In my opinion glodson was claiming indeed that “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong”. Moreover, I agree with him. Your quote-mining consisted in giving the sentence a devious interpretation (which was quite clearly excluded by the rest of his post). The intended interpretation is: there is nothing wrong with being wrong as such. To attribute blame or wrongness, you must look for other elements of the situation, which go beyond someone’s being simply wrong.

    For comparison, consider the following text: “There is nothing wrong with moving your finger. But be careful while doing it to pull the trigger!” There is no contradiction between these two statements. The second doesn’t invalidate the first one; it excludes however some devious interpretations and that’s why concentrating on the first one (with a devious interpretation in mind) would be just that: quote-mining.

    By the way: if someone makes a mistake and admits it, normally (extreme cases apart) I would say that gains prevail over losses. If in such a situation your immediate reaction is to nitpick and sneer over the mistake (“Oh, is the baby Stephanie for the first time on the web?” or – as in the Pharyngula thread – “Ignorant douchebag! Idiot! Atheist insults are much more direct than that!”), then … well, I’m not Dan Fincke and I’m afraid that my immediate reaction to such sneers would consist in moving my finger. The middle one. To the upright position.

  23. 23
    John Morales

    Ariel:

    Well, I think that you quote-mined. I think also that you still got it completely wrong.

    Well, you are one of the people who claim that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong. :)

    In my opinion glodson was claiming indeed that “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong”. Moreover, I agree with him. Your quote-mining consisted in giving the sentence a devious interpretation (which was quite clearly excluded by the rest of his post). The intended interpretation is: there is nothing wrong with being wrong as such.

    IOW, wrongness is not wrong, as such.

    (It must only be wrong not as such!)

    For comparison, consider the following text: “There is nothing wrong with moving your finger. But be careful while doing it to pull the trigger!” There is no contradiction between these two statements.

    An inappropriate comparison, since moving your finger is a physical action and being wrong is a truth-claim, and so your purported implication is a non sequitur.

    (A better comparison would be “There is no anger in being angry”)

    [OT]

    By the way: if someone makes a mistake and admits it, normally (extreme cases apart) I would say that gains prevail over losses.

    A hasty and thoughtless generalisation with a vague caveat.

  24. 24
    Ariel

    John Morales #23

    Well, you are one of the people who claim that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong.

    Yes, I am. Your humble servant.

    IOW, wrongness is not wrong, as such.
    (It must only be wrong not as such!)

    Excellent. We are making progress, aren’t we? :) No moral blame on someone who was wrong (i.e. made a mistake) just for being wrong. A blame – if any – for negligence, for self-righteousness, for dishonesty … feel free to insert other candidates. Any problems with that, John?

    An inappropriate comparison, since moving your finger is a physical action and being wrong is a truth-claim, and so your purported implication is a non sequitur.

    I’m afraid that your remark is too deep for me. Making a false truth claim is also an action in a physical world. Can we blame someone for performing such an action? If so, why? Is it because the claim is false (my answer: no)? Is it for some other reasons (my answer: yes)? I still view the situation with moving one’s finger as neatly illustrating the point. I sincerely do not understand your worries.

    A better comparison would be “There is no anger in being angry”

    No, it’s a fatal comparison. In “there is nothing wrong with being wrong” the word “wrong” is used two times, each time with a different meaning. Its first occurrence should be interpreted morally. The second refers to having false opinions. In effect the claim is tantamount to “there is nothing morally wrong with having a false belief”, with the intended interpretation explained in my previous post (and definitely different from the one quote-mined by you). Don’t equivocate please.

    A hasty and thoughtless generalisation with a vague caveat.

    Funny. The whole thread on Pharyngula strikes me as extremely thoughtless, hasty and hateful. But I guess our chances to reach a compromise on this are dim. So be it.

  25. 25
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    Then, let the claim be: “There is nothing morally wrong with being factually wrong.”

    That is still wrong [factually], as real harm can come from making a false claim, especially if that claim is about the intentions and/or actions of another (Thunderf00t, in this case). If making a false claim (i.e. being factually wrong) about an individual can, in itself, cause harm, then that is a case where it is “morally wrong”. Ergo, it is not true that “there is nothing morally wrong with being factually wrong” — that claim asserts that there can never be a case where it is morally wrong to be factually wrong.

  26. 26
    Stephanie Zvan

    Never. Right. That’s why the rest of the comment talks about when moral culpability accrues. So now we’re back to quote mining.

    This is quickly turning into my go-to thread for demonstrating how debate-club wankery derails the exchange of ideas.

  27. 27
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    I apologize for my part in the derailment.

    Yes, part of being a skeptic (in fact, I would say the most important part) is the ability to recognize when one is wrong, admit it, and correct the mistake. That’s why I often have to remind fellow atheists that not all atheists are skeptics, as many of them (cough, motion of head toward mildew-y area of atheosphere) refuse to even recognize when they are wrong about an issue.

  28. 28
    Sheesh

    Apologies here too.

    I was only trying to make the point that your statement there’s nothing wrong with being wrong as long as [...] can be read quite differently from there’s nothing wrong with being wrong, period. I obviously wasn’t the only one that thought this was a serious enough difference to remark on it.

    I think most of us here have considered the ethics of belief is all, so it immediately popped out.

    (And that’s not to pile on Glodson, who makes lots of great comments that I enjoy all around Ftb.)

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