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Hammick's Law of Thread Decay
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Toni Lassila
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 135

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: Re: Hammick's Law of Thread Decay Reply with quote

On 20 Jun 2006 01:47:24 -0700, "Larry Lard" <larrylard@hotmail.com>
wrote:

Quote:
Larry Hammick wrote:
"As the number of responses approaches infinity, the content of the
thread converges to a limit which is independant of the original
topic."

No, I don't think this is true (or what you mean). As threads get
longer the content doesn't *converge* to anything - it's not the case
that by the end of a 10,000-post thread, all posts are on exactly the
same topic. I think what you want is:

As the number of responses increases, the distance of the content from
the original topic is non-decreasing

I think this is too broad, as it would imply that once the thread gets
long enough it will cover topics arbitrarily distant from the original
topic. That doesn't really happen in sci.math. Either the thread dies,
becomes an exchange between two people only, or mutates into one of
the crank topics. It would be interesting to find out what are the
basins of attraction.
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Larry Lard
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:47 am    Post subject: Re: Hammick's Law of Thread Decay Reply with quote

Larry Hammick wrote:
Quote:
"As the number of responses approaches infinity, the content of the
thread converges to a limit which is independant of the original
topic."

No, I don't think this is true (or what you mean). As threads get
longer the content doesn't *converge* to anything - it's not the case
that by the end of a 10,000-post thread, all posts are on exactly the
same topic. I think what you want is:

As the number of responses increases, the distance of the content from
the original topic is non-decreasing

using some suitable metric for topic closeness. This is to say, threads
stay on topic, or drift away from topic, but never get any closer to
topic than they currently are.


Quote:
Now I know there's still work to do here. Eventually we want a
full-fledged ODE, no doubt of the second order, whose coefficients will
describe quantitatively how the thread disentegrates into a sinusoid of
0% signal and 100% noise.

You see, you knew something was wrong - 100% noise isn't converging to
anything. I agree a sinusoidal model for closeness to topic sounds
about right.

--
Larry Lard
Replies to group please
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larryhammick@telus.net
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 217

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:30 pm    Post subject: Hammick's Law of Thread Decay Reply with quote

"As the number of responses approaches infinity, the content of the
thread converges to a limit which is independant of the original
topic."

Now I know there's still work to do here. Eventually we want a
full-fledged ODE, no doubt of the second order, whose coefficients will
describe quantitatively how the thread disentegrates into a sinusoid of
0% signal and 100% noise.
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