Let's try and understand this "no such thing as bad publicity" thing.

Sunday, 06 April, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

You've probably heard the expression in the title, either proposed as fact or disputed as fallacy, plus parodied in a doomed if sterile attempt to look clever, deconstructed, reconstructed and whatnot. The jury on whether it's "right" or not, "correct" or not and so on and so forth is still out, however. It will never return.

The reason it will never return is that as is, the proposition is nonsense. It confounds quite distinct situations, which make it necessarily ambiguous.i Before we can proceed with our thinking however, we must fix English, which is very inept a language and mostly broken throughout. As such it doesn't lend itself too well to thinking, and inasmuch as we're not here to sell things we'll have to do something about it.

So, the word "praise" denotes a normativeii recognition of merit. It is not merely "recognition", that'd be merely descriptive. Praise contains not just the specification of what good is, but also the supplication of all to reproduce it and the imprecation of all who do not.

Therefore, "criticism" is a particularly invalid antonym of "praise", and if that's what your mind pulls up for that request you have very serious problems which you ought to forthright address. Criticism is not even an antonym for recognition, because both praise and recognition deal with a meta-problem, whereas criticism deals with the problem in the direct, they're not tools in the same shop these three words.

"Slander" is also a bad antonym, because it implies falsity. There's a lengthy list of other bad choices, but before I run your patience threadbare let me just say that "censure" is perhaps ideal. We praise or we censure, that's the correct pair, and guess what ? It turns out English was not broken at all. It was the speakers all along! Who knew?!

So now : the "no such thing as bad publicity" thing confounds two different planes of consideration. One is praise and censure, which is to say, the position of the speaker as to the content of the message. The other is innocence and guilt, which is to say, the objective reality of the message. Turns out the thing breaks down into four irreducible situations :

I. The censure of the guilty. Like this or this or I could be here all day. You may flatter yourself to think that "simple words" are powerless to hurt you, because "nobody reads" or "nobody reads Trilema" or whatever other such fail. The problem with it is that it contains in itself the very acquiescence of the contrary : you're in effect saying that yes they could, in principle, just not in the circumstance as is. Well... circumstances change. What's more, circumstances are slippery, and you can never be quite certain that you've correctly and completely understood any particular circumstance.

To illustrate the former point, consider the situation of Claudiu Lupu. In October 2010 he was spamming me, in March 2011 he was discovering that wait... circumstances have meanwhile changed! He's no longer a 17yo kid on his parents' cable, "being successful" online, he's now an 18yo adult who has to get a job. From people who apparently use google and read Trilema and whatnot. Who could have imagined it!

To illustrate the latter point, consider the predicament of EEFT Euronet Worldwide, a payment processor that managed to lose most of Romania's credit cards data, just in time for the 2011 Christmas shopping season. "The circumstances" as they imagined them at the time were that the Romanian press costs about three thousand to buy in corpore. "The circumstances" as they imagined them on January 24th, 2012 were that "some obscure blogger wrote about it". Unbeknownst to them halfiii the Romanian banking industry turns out to have been reading Trilema, and so it came to pass that by the end of that same week, the circumstances were that the head of Erste's local bank had rolled. Funny thing, a circumstance.

So yes, "circumstances" may save you, for a time, on occasion. If that's what you're counting on...

II. The censure of the innocent. This absolutely never works in practice, no matter how sweet delusion may it be that oh, we control the vertical and the horizontal and shall thus therefore create imaginary scientific consensus out of ideology and propaganda. I get it, it'd be great if it worked, it'd give all that money you wasted on building up "the press" some sort of utility. Read my lips : it.doth.not.work.

Again, with examples. First, some kid decided that rather than spending five minutes reading and understanding the tool he's about to use, he'd much rather spend a month afterwards crying over the milk he spilled :

i’ve spent a lot of time spamming reddit and the forums telling people about bitbet scammers so i’ve already done damage to their brand, which they deserve for being theives

The results are summarized in Bit Bet's November 2013 report, the miscellanea section. It's really quite short and sweet : never has Bit Bet been doing so well as during the time some schmuck was attempting to censure the innocent.

Second, consider this beauty. Leaving aside that the S.MPOE share advanced a couple of percents in the intervaliv - which may seem a small matter until you consider that a couple of percents in S.MPOE means a net equity gain of just about 20`000 Bitcoinv, which is to say more than the aggregated gains for all other Bitcoin ventures of any kind and type so far this year - we could instead focus on the much cheaper side of things : words. I can't imagine how anyone'd come out of reading that thing liking me any less than they did going in. Go ahead, try it. I actually did two focus groups (not because the derps are important, but because I am curious) and while amusement is almost universal, the conclusions tend towards "whoever pissed off these idiots got my vote". Funny how that works.

III. The praise of the innocent. This sometimes turns some people off, either sickies with sociopathic traits that simply can't bear anyone be praised, or else quite normal people that have heard too much of itvi, but generally speaking it doesn't appreciably hurt the subject, and it does help it should the receptor had never heard of it in the first place.

IV. The praise of the guilty. This never works in practice, and what's worse it generally backfires. It's rare that a tenth of the effort put into false praise actually converts into some sort of benefit for the guilty ; it's common that ten times the effort put into false praise actually converts into damage for the emitter. I'm not going to document all this, it's too much of a task. Bitcoin space is full of wrecked names and sunk reputations on the grounds of having committed exactly this crime, if you can't summon up examples yourself it's unlikely I could in any manner help.

So that's it : there is such thing as bad publicity. It just depends who you are and whom is it coming from. Think of publicity like money, because they're really not that distinct : there is such a thing as bad money. In fact, the best thing you can do to ruin someone's children is giving them a large chunk of it, and there's nothing quite as sad as the collected life stories of lottery winners. Money can't hurt the righteous, even if it ordinarily wrecks the sinful. Publicity idem.

  1. Another fine example of this process at work is in the #bitcoin-assets log :

    The classification doesn't go like that, there's two distinct angles being confounded.

    From the investor pov, "it's a scam" to "it's a legit business" roughly maps their revenue. In this sense, a good corp in a bad market is a "scam".

    From the corp pov, "it's a scam" to "it's a legit business" roughly maps their honesty. In this sense, shit badly mismanaged by honest but clueless people is "not a scam".

    Then the debate "it's a scam" vs "it's not a scam" can rage indefinitely, opposing some people arguing "this is so stupid it'll never see a return" with people arguing "these people are so honest and nice and trustworthy they don't even call women bitch ever!". Nonsensical debate.


  2. The difference between normative and descriptive roughly maps Hume's distinction between ought and is. This is a major topic in the theory of thought, and if you can't readily summon from memory at least two dozen different scholarly works on the topic you'd be well advised to tread lightly, for you're walking blind. []
  3. No, this does not mean "half of all the cashiers". []
  4. One explanatory construction would be that the forum muppetry actually imagines they can have an impact in Bitcoin finance, as if we're all equal now or something. []
  5. That's twenty thousand, yes, no mistake. []
  6. TvTropes has you covered on hype backlash. []
Category: 3 ani experienta
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