[FoRK] Videos of talks / presentations considered harmful (and other peeves)

James Tauber jtauber at jtauber.com
Tue May 25 02:50:20 PDT 2010

On May 24, 2010, at 3:17 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:

> Enough with the video, already.  The TED talks, the Google tech talks, the Vimeo stuff.  Etc.
> Non-machine-parseable (at least, easily, though Google's working on it.)  That means not indexable.  That means opaque, at least for now.  
> They're linear.  They're time and attention consuming.  The information density in both time and space domains is piss-poor.  (Yes, this despite "picture worth a thousand words" nonsense.  I.e., not when it's a picture of words being spoken, it ain't!  
> Non-cut-n-pasteable.  Hard to reference specific points of interest.  Etc. etc. etc.  
> Guaranteed to be non-durable.  I.e., the format in 10 years will NOT be the same as it is today.  Much less in 100.  10,000.  Etc.  Have pity on the poor archaeologist-combat programmers of the future.  All formats are vulnerable;  video more than most.

While I agree with all this, I prefer learning most things from a good talk and visual aids than a dense paper. For all the pseudo-science around it, the VARK learning style distinctions seem useful at a coarse level based on my experience both as a student and teacher.

> Give it a REST.  Write a freakin' web page.  Or fine, post the video, but have the decency to ALWAYS provide relevant metadata, transcript, and particularly any source and reference materials that were presented.

Yep. This is one of my pet peeves about documentaries too: they rarely provide citations. They'll interview some researcher but then I have to go track down that researcher to get actual information beyond the sound bite in the documentary. At least in most cases the research *is* available on the web, it's just not tied to the documentary.


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