Here are some bad aspects of InformationOverload:

For me, this is an information overload problem. The opinions of ordinary people in a republic (to a large extent) drive these sort of decisions. Yet few people have time to read lots of political commentary. That is enough of a problem in itself, but a futher problem is that it is hard for people with a very limited amount of time to choose to read only good “summaries”.

The problem is that, if something is 80% agreed on but it is a “hot issue”, to anyone who just hears about the issue casually through the media, it will sound as if it is not settled at all and both sides are “equal”. This is a consequence of the neccessity of not shutting out the 20% side (after all, they may still turn out to be right).

InformationOverload for organizations

Tracking too much information could bog an organization down in a couple of ways:

I assert that organizing and simplifying information and reducing redundancy is critical. For example, I’m sure that every domestic social issue I’m concerned with has a couple of hundred U.S. government domestic reports. But I don’t know how to find them, nor do I have the time to read them. This in itself may be fine, except that I suspect that others who are directly resposible for dealing with those issues are in the same position as me with regards to those documents.

Often you hear of government being accused of ordering funny jokesa study on some issue rather than doing something about it (one potentially disputable example is the U.S. Bush administration making global warming a research priority but rejecting Kyoto). This may be a tangential issue; perhaps the order for more information is being used occasionally as a smoke screen, which wouldn’t indicate that collecting too much information is an endemic problem. But I contend that if the Bush administration really believed that global warming was such a threat, they would have acted. In my opinion, the evidence for this was there but the information was not organized correctly and so the administration wasn’t sufficiently convinced.


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