Trivia

Hard

Warnock’s Dilemma Describes An Internet-Related Problem Focused On?

User Authentication
Ineffective Use Of Bandwidth
Lack Of Reader Response
Discussion Forum Trolling
A gray and white cat laying on the keyboard while looking at the laptop screen.
Wilson Afonso/Wikimedia

Answer: Lack Of Reader Response

You post something on an Internet forum and… nothing happens. What does that mean? Unlike real life where you’re looking at the people you’re communicating with and, even if they’re silent, you can get feedback of some sort on your communication, sometimes communicating on the Internet feels like yelling out into the void.

In August of 2000, Bryan Warnock elegantly laid out the dilemma of asynchronous and (potentially) asymmetric communication in regard to posting on Usenet discussion forums with the following description of the problem:

The problem with no response is that there are five possible interpretations:

  1. The post is correct, well-written information that needs no follow-up commentary. There’s nothing more to say except “Yeah, what he said.”
  2. The post is complete and utter nonsense, and no one wants to waste the energy or bandwidth to even point this out.
  3. No one read the post, for whatever reason.
  4. No one understood the post, but won’t ask for clarification, for whatever reason.
  5. No one cares about the post, for whatever reason.

The dilemma took on his name and now, when you post something on the Internet and hear nothing in return, you can always comfort yourself by insisting the silence is a result of the first argument of Warnock’s Dilemma—that your post was so correct that nobody has anything to add. Or not.

Trivia

Very Hard

The First Smartphone-Powered Satellites Contained What Phone?

Trivia

Hard

The Titanic Was Discovered On A Quest To Find What?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Children’s Toys Has Been Co-opted For Use By The U.S. Military?

Trivia

Hard

Newton’s Famous Work Principia Almost Went Unpublished Because The Royal Society Printed A Book On?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Known Freshwater Flood In All Of History Is Known As The?

Trivia

Hard

The First Station In The U.S. To Broadcast Digital TV Was Located In?

Trivia

Hard

The First Sunday Newspaper In The World Was?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sport No Longer Includes The Component It Was Literally Named After?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Author Has Had The Most Profitable Film Adaptations?

Trivia

Hard

A Demonym Is A Word That Identifies A Person By?