The Universe holding you by the fist and shaking

If you are like me you subscribe to many RSS feeds and you find them accumulating articles faster than you can read them.  What do you do when MetaFilter has 500 unread articles?

Use the glance and scroll method.  Look at an article and read it if it looks interesting.  But if it doesnt then don’t keep browsing.  Give a hard flick on your mousewheel, trackpad, phone screen whatever and scroll rapidly past a large number of articles and glance at the next one you land on.  Repeat.

The point is that all articles, regardless of their position in the feed are equally likely to be interesting, other things equal.  So if you can only read a fraction of what’s there you can’t do any worse than this.  But in fact other things are not equal.

The quality of articles is endogenously serially correlated.  Because any blog runs the best material available that day/couple of days/week.  If you landed on a lame article then chances are you landed on a lame day.  Scroll your way out of that trough and hope you land on a peak.

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