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Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:02 pm
by Alicorn
Consensus. Science fiction, < 1,700 words.

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:33 am
by Bluelantern
That story relates to any recent events?

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:07 am
by BlueSkySprite
Possible typo in 10th paragraph:
I "Your marketing problems

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:32 am
by AndaisQ
I'm always really pleased whenever you post new stories. I love your concepts and your style and eeeeeeee

Plus, gender-neutral character! Yeah!

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:28 pm
by Alicorn
Fixed typo, thanks.

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:57 pm
by cbhacking
I like this story! It makes me think about things. Of course, the things in question - how much of our "personal" decisions are driven by the attitudes of those around us, and how much do other people discount the welfare of the recipients of their advice, and how such things can spiral out of control across large anonymous groups (the Internet) - all kind of give me the creeps when I think about them, but that's not a reason to ignore the ideas.

This is immediate-future sci-fi of the best kind: exploring the societal ramifications of a technological shift that has not occurred (not quite, at least; Twitter and Facebook do exist) but fully could without even any significant technological development or unrelated societal change.

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:10 pm
by DanielH
I like a lot of things about the story, many of which were just said by cbhacking. Yet, oddly enough, I find it one of my least favorite Alicorn stories and I’m not sure why. I think partially it’s because I read it late at night and might have missed something, but partially not. I’ve included my trying to work out why I like most other Alicorn stories better, but I don’t know if I’m right.

I think it’s partly because most of the plot (Consensus becoming a thing, most politicians using it, the offence, the response, the death, and the main debate) happens off-page, and partly because it still leaves a lot of important questions (factual in-story, not philosophical or psychological questions) unanswered. Can Sharpe or somebody else at the company artificially adjust the results (even though it looks like this wasn’t necessary in this case), what percent of the population actually participate in any given prominent political figure’s Consensus feed (or anybody else’s), etc. I feel like this would have been better with more details of the worldbuilding attached, or with more time looking at the characters, or something.

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:41 am
by thebutcher
Really nice. I liked that it was left ambiguous if Sharpe's access to the results of the feeds of the jury was above what other people had. Maybe the system is just THAT transparent, that you always knew how often people complied with the feed. Which now that I think of it it probably IS to rise the pressure to comply more often to get a better "score". It would have been even better I think if it was hinted that the Politician had done some things Consensus doesn't like. If instead of loan sharking the thing was about something in the sphere of interest of Consensus.(Which is honestly really hard to do believable and didn't give the issue the needed irony.)

The big Question, the big Uncertainty is of course: did they manipulate the Votes for the President to kill himself? I mean, that they manipulate votes at all is guaranteed, the votes of the jury's feed very probably.

Re: Short Story: "Consensus"

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:07 am
by cbhacking
I actually wouldn't say it's guaranteed that they manipulate the votes. I'm sure they have the ability to, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the creators have a plan for scenarios in which they would use that capability, but something like this depends heavily on credibility. What does the company gain, in general, by manipulating people? The people who use their service are already predisposed to favor it, no manipulation needed. Unless the company has some subtle plan that is counterintitively to their benefit, all they need to do is *not* screw up, and let their userbase grow.

Consider, no matter how many times Facebook redesigns their stuff and there's an uproar over it, people still keep using the site and sharing tons of personal information with them. They may say they hate FB, but their actions quite clearly show otherwise. In the story, there's no need to even take missteps as big as Facebook's.