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#1
Old 03-04-2013, 11:37 AM
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"Name a (blank) that doesn't have the letter (blank) in it!" Scam?

Facebook culture has given prolific birth to yet another really stupid meme. I've been seeing those "Name a (blank) that doesn't have the letter (blank) in it!" things for weeks now. Stuff like "Name a city in California that doesn't have the letter "E" in it". They're incredibly stupid, in the sense that I haven't seen one yet that I couldn't name at least 10 refuting cities/songs/whatever within 10 seconds.

Are these "like-fishing" schemes, like the ones that have a picture captioned "Hit '1' and see what happens!"? Is it another kind of scheme? Is it just a stupid meme that took on some sort of viral contagion life of its own?
#2
Old 03-04-2013, 11:58 AM
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I'm seeing these too, and they all end with "I bet you can't!!"

Idiots. I wish I could keep them off my screen, but my friends keep answering them. . .

Last edited by TruCelt; 03-04-2013 at 11:59 AM.
#3
Old 03-04-2013, 12:00 PM
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Yes - some kind of status farming. They get a whole load of people to interact with a page then sell the page to some other site for SEO.
#4
Old 03-04-2013, 12:06 PM
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Plus the proposed mental exercise is like asking you to NOT think of an Elephant after you read this post...
#5
Old 03-04-2013, 12:25 PM
bup bup is offline
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It may or may not be a scam, or status fishing, or whatever. Easy questions that are presented as difficult spread quickly on facebook, no matter the motive.

Daniel Dennett, presciently in 1991, wrote about how memes are subject to Darwin just like the rest of us. It doesn't matter if it's stupid or useful, if a meme finds a way to spread, it will. This meme's niche is making people feel smart for 10 seconds.

Last edited by bup; 03-04-2013 at 12:27 PM.
#6
Old 03-04-2013, 12:32 PM
bup bup is offline
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Here's a TED talk by Dennet on the phenomenon.

I realize this isn't a direct answer to your question, but I think it's useful enough that it bears mentioning.

The answer to *your* question probably depends on the source - some of these are just shared from other easily fascinated individuals, but at least one I saw was from a radio station. Not that that makes it necessarily evil; it could just be a dumb easy update for the guy whose job it is to provide facebook content for the radio station each day.
#7
Old 03-04-2013, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
Curse you!!! Don't you know those TED videos are like crack for curious people? Now I"m going to have to spend the whole day doing rehab yet again.

You may think just one link is harmless enough, but once you've wasted half a day learning curious facts and listening to intriguing ideas and stories you'll realize they're worse than cute animal videos.

At least with cutesy or funny videos you know you're wasting time, but those TED talks feel empowering, educational, like some sort of accomplishment. It's as if watching a video somehow makes the world better.
#8
Old 03-04-2013, 01:23 PM
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Dennett's alright. Despite being an older guy who is a *shudder* philosopher, his writing is really clear and concise, unlike most philosophers.

I'm not sure about the OP's situation, but before that there were those stupid "Comment with 'win' to find the answer!" I Googled it, and look what came up first.
#9
Old 03-04-2013, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
Stuff like "Name a city in California that doesn't have the letter "E" in it". They're incredibly stupid, in the sense that I haven't seen one yet that I couldn't name at least 10 refuting cities/songs/whatever within 10 seconds.
Off the top of my head...
  1. San Francisco
  2. Palo Alto
  3. Ojai
  4. Chula Vista
  5. San Luis Obispo
  6. La Jolla
  7. Moor Park [Thanks, STG!]
  8. Oakland
  9. Ontario
  10. Rancho Cucomonga

Last edited by Kimmy_Gibbler; 03-04-2013 at 04:56 PM.
#10
Old 03-04-2013, 05:50 PM
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I fell for that on Facebook, and I thought my friend, the poster, was just being a dumbass.
"Name a rock band that doesn't have the letter T"
I replied: Hawkwind, Crazy Horse just off the top of my head. Then I felt like I just wasted my time, and got the hell off of Facebook, again.
Please tell me, like you are speaking to a 5 year old, people make money from this....how??
#11
Old 03-04-2013, 06:03 PM
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They can troll through the list of people who replied to the posting and get a list of people gullible enough to click something for no dang reason.
#12
Old 03-04-2013, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
Please tell me, like you are speaking to a 5 year old, people make money from this....how??
They create a page with a load of content that generates a lot of pointless 'likes'.
They sell the page to someone else, who replaces the content with whateever they want to sell or promote = ready-made (apparent) popularity.
#13
Old 03-04-2013, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Yes - some kind of status farming. They get a whole load of people to interact with a page then sell the page to some other site for SEO.
"SEO"

Quote:
Originally Posted by dstarfire View Post
Curse you!!! Don't you know those TED videos are like crack for curious people? Now I"m going to have to spend the whole day doing rehab yet again.

My favorite (brief) TED video
: What is the Biggest Rock?
#14
Old 03-04-2013, 09:01 PM
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Biggest Rock URL: http://youtube.com/watch?v=aO0TU...e_gdata_player
#15
Old 03-04-2013, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
"SEO"
Search Engine Optimization. Basically methods to get your site to come up on the first page of google.
#16
Old 03-04-2013, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmy_Gibbler View Post
Off the top of my head...
  1. San Francisco
  2. Palo Alto
  3. Ojai
  4. Chula Vista
  5. San Luis Obispo
  6. La Jolla
  7. Moor Park [Thanks, STG!]
  8. Oakland
  9. Ontario
  10. Rancho Cucomonga
  1. Burkly
  2. Sacramonto
  3. Los Angilis
  4. Santa Barbra
  5. Bakursfld
  6. San Josay
  7. Many mor. . .

Also: Stockton, Turlock, Visalia, Santa Rosa, Acton, Agoura Hills, Alamo, Alhambra, Alpaugh, Alturas, Angwin, Annapolis, Arcadia, Arcata, Arlington, Auburn, Avalon, Azusa, . . .

Last edited by Senegoid; 03-04-2013 at 09:26 PM.
#17
Old 03-05-2013, 12:05 AM
vd vd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmy_Gibbler View Post
Off the top of my head...
  1. San Francisco
  2. Palo Alto
  3. Ojai
  4. Chula Vista
  5. San Luis Obispo
  6. La Jolla
  7. Moor Park [Thanks, STG!]
  8. Oakland
  9. Ontario
  10. Rancho Cucomonga
Oddly enough, despite having its own post office name, La Jolla isn't a city. It's just a part of the city of San Diego. I'm afraid you lose 1 facebook.
#18
Old 03-05-2013, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
Daniel Dennett, presciently in 1991, wrote about how memes are subject to Darwin just like the rest of us. It doesn't matter if it's stupid or useful, if a meme finds a way to spread, it will. This meme's niche is making people feel smart for 10 seconds.
That wasn't prescient in 1991. That's what memes are. The concept was defined, by analogy with genes, in the '70s.
#19
Old 03-05-2013, 06:29 PM
bup bup is offline
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Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
That wasn't prescient in 1991. That's what memes are. The concept was defined, by analogy with genes, in the '70s.
Huh. Well, good, I don't like Dennet anyway.

I think it's pretty impressive that somebody (looks like Dawkins, now that I look it up) recognized that cultural ideas are subject to the same problems as genes, because they reproduce and their success is dependent on reproduction, just like genes - before the internet.
#20
Old 03-05-2013, 06:50 PM
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Oh yes, brilliant concept. I just like to point out that the concept is not based in, or limited to, the internet.
#21
Old 03-05-2013, 10:10 PM
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Fwiw I've noticed that these things are mostly being spread by teenagers in my neck of Facebook.

Eta And they come from pages with obvious teen appeal.

Last edited by Springtime for Spacers; 03-05-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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