Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Stop Sign

Some kid has to get killed at the intersection, to get the new stop sign installed.

You generally have to have standing. You don't carry as much weight when you raise something you're concerned about, in a vacuum, for no particular reason. At that point you have a lot of time on your hands and should "get a life."

But what if the kid getting killed is a black swan event? People doing triage on how to spend their precious time (not said facetiously), are acting in an understandable way when they favor things with some evidence or a track record. For instance, a newspaper editor trying to decide whether to give precious space to a piece written by a victim's family, or someone who is not an obvious stakeholder, will give it to the victim's family. Meanwhile, you have something that probably won't happen, but when it does happen, the consequences are disproportionately big and pervasive. I have sympathy for the unenviable position of the content-sifter trying to pick apart the four quadrants. If she errs on the side of "get out of my office, crackpot!" she might be accused of missing the big one. Declining to put the Beatles on your label. If she errs on the side of "Okay, it's probably against my better judgment but there's something about your story I just can't resist. You're on!" you're maybe, what was it, Pierre Salinger and Flight 800? You come out as a laughing stock for having leaped too easy.

All four quadrants are fraught with danger.

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