Nate Silver tweets:
My conspiracy theory is that The Russian Bot Conspiracy Theory is a conspiracy by Old Media (NYT, CNN, WP, etc.) to castrate Social Media with censorship and approbation. (Note: conspiracies don’t require meeting in parking garages at midnight, they can use, say, headlines and TV to coordinate.)
iSteve commenter Playing Mantis adds:
The responses to Silver’s tweet are rather amusing. For example, here’s Timothy Burke, Professor of History at Swarthmore College:
As far as effectiveness goes, don’t send a statistical thinker to do a humanities and psychology job. This was about meaning and cognition and about how messages pass around in paratexts and affect people. You can’t measure it using your usual instruments, so don’t try.
I guess we’ll just have to take the Professor’s word that it cannot be measured, but that he (somehow) knows just how effective it was. On second thought, I think I’m with Lord Kelvin: “when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind”.
Uh-oh, the Russians are using paratexts! I don’t know what paratexts are, but they sound scary. I imagine paratexts are like this, but high tech: