How to Feed your Thinktank [‘psych’ out your user interface]

 Screenshot 2015-08-24 22.41.04

How to Feed your Thinktank [‘psych’ out your user interface]

for more generative and fruitful community building mind controls

Having a working understanding of influence psychology can aid in the success of every conceivable human endeavor, from business to lovemaking or love seeking, from wealth to power, to everything but wisdom, the power to control others is said to be one of the most well sought after elixirs of kings and gods.

To modernize Machiavelli, let us start with the architecture of a website, since so many of us tend to spend our time online these days. If I was designing a website that was intended to be a shall we say haven for likeminded individuals to interact and share ideas, without prejudice, I wouldn’t design a ‘Real Time Chat’ room, or IRC, such as the one in which the Anonymous hackers correspond (I was never a member there, just an intrigued outcast to the tech world who found the psychology of those particular communities fascinating).

I would design a forum, and I’d be willing to bet that it’d be easy to prove the ‘turn based’ talking would be more generative to fruitful conversation, or more convenient to ‘asymmetrical’ conversation where two parties cannot necessarily be online at the same time but still must carry on an ongoing correspondence.  Also it is easier for archiving and allows for state changes to be applied to the message or communication body in retrospect. Editing allows for a degree of meta-communication in and of itself.

I am sure that anyone who has been innovative enough to combine cognitive science with the vast communicative and computing power of the internet of everything has figured out that you want to maximize every square inch of the attention expended by potential audiences and customers. Attention is a resource that can be hijacked using some neat ‘neurocryptic’ tricks that are not generally talked about because they are considered ‘black’ arts, such as hacking and scamming and seduction (turns out, you got one hell of a thing when you combine the three!).

The ultimate degree of power would be the ability to aggregate the human consciousness collective and determine the actions of its will. To meddle in mind control is the most nefarious of the dark arts, for it plays with destiny and incurs the spite of fortune. Even while it only consciously affects a certain portion of mankind, it concerns all of us in existence. What if somebody could create the you you never knew you were?

That is why ‘manipulation and handling’ tactics for the ‘weather wars’ online must be exposed, even if very few people see and believe it.

Now in order to send such an insidious message I’d have to be really certain about the dimensions of both the signal and the receiver.

You might call a moderated community a “psychogarden” in earthy terms as it is tended to by the gardener and like a vegetable thoughts grow – or in watery terms you might call it an ‘aquarium’ or a ‘thinktank’, you might even say it’s a fish farm for mind trawling.


an avatar is the image that the user wants to project of themselves. in an online community the avatar makes a statement not only about user self-identification, but also makes a statement about what kind of identity the user assumes that other users will want to interact with.

if somebody uses a picture of themselves as their avatar, for example, you can immediately make a few working assumptions about that person, compared to a person who makes a picture of an animal as their avatar. We might even assume that a person who uses a picture as an avatar that for them the person they see in the mirror everyday is the one they identify with. Someone who used a picture of a tiger as their avatar, perhaps, is not so literal , and imagines actively their likeness in relation with some totem, symbol , or object.

There are two possibilities in signals that avatars send: 1) the avatar tells you about me 2) the avatar tells me about you. In the latter case, the avatar is signaling to you how you should treat me, based on your current portfolio of societal scripts. Maybe I understand that by choosing a butterfly as my avatar, I am in a sense choosing a code that others whom the code resonates with cannot help but enact unconsciously.

karma system:

This community would ideally have a karma system which is a great tool for conditioning a community. It’s essentially the same idea as positive reinforcements and you may notice that some variant of karma system is in use in every major institution – you get ‘points’ for performing exceptionally well according to the standards of the community and those points may be spent for gain in the fashion of ‘meritocracy’.

The karma system is a useful tool for teaching or enculturating the community norm – that is anybody who understand peer pressure is a powerful social influencer, understands how public ‘shaming’ can be used as an emotional ‘shock collar’ for habitualizing societal behaviors. In a micro-organism like a cyber / virtual community the karma system can be used to make statements about how communication ought to occur and precipitate alliances unconsciously from those who pass karma amongst themselves.

spelling and punctuation:

spelling and punctuation are important because the way people approach their spelling makes a tentative statement about their personality. Some people are very very careful to be impeccable with their spelling, and because they are so highly conscious of making a mistake, it is clear that they are very concerned with the degree of intelligence others perceive them of having. In other words: they want to (or need to, in some cases) sound smart. The reasons for this may vary.

sometimes spelling is very poor out of a legitimate lack of literacy, this is often the case. but spelling and punctuation, many often forget, is a form of metacommunication in and of itself. Punctuation is often underestimated because it doesn’t contain content in its own right but mediates upon the delivery of the content and thus the shades of meaning that can be inferred along with the relationships between ideas and objects.

in one sense, I may hope to deliver an impression of being untrustworthy, and so deliberately i may reduce or ‘dumb down’ my proficiency or reduce my punctuation usage in order to provoke a certain state of information processing cognitively. Perhaps this may be used to deceive or distract.

In another sense. I may speak ina fvrm of cvde which may be mstakn fr illiteracy or ‘insanity’.

data handling

The best way to handle data handling is never to talk about it except in very long documents written predominately in ‘legalise’. If you are sony, you can play off of the whole microsoft ‘kinect’ fiasco and pretend that you don’t have a short and well hidden disclaimer hidden in the system interface options which describe the persistent feed of constant data being broadcast about innumerable data usage statistics that are, indeed, associated with a unique user id and which they may, if requested, provide to third parties, without notifying you.

but always remember: the best and most useful kind of information is the kind that is openly and willingly provided by the user in a public format. This kind of information can be used for research of any kind so long as the research does not reveal identifying information about the subjects, and even then it may do so if the ’cause or need for research is great enough to offset the potential damages’.

that being said the best way to go would be to maximize the user interface so that the user is voluntarily providing much of it to the analysis. that way only a few pieces of key data points may be collected from each member and used as the basis for making profile assumptions and adjusting those assumptions to arrive at better and more specific correlations.

Any social media platform is a hotbed for profiling or targeted marketing because it is the primary source for open information about an individual or demographic. but any virtual community ought to maximize the amount of information that is being given to them voluntarily by users. To encourage this in the design of the site itself means to emphasize ‘custom’ solutions and encourage users to ‘express their interests’ and keep an active profile or whatnot.

Additional Sources:

Eye-2-I: Eye-tracking for just-in-time implicit user profiling

Analyzing the activity of a person in a chat by combining network analysis and fuzzy logic