Are you familiar with Betteridge’s Law? This is a law among journalists that any headline that poses a question can be answered with an emphatic “no”.
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It was coined by Ian Betteridge who observed that the TechCrunch article from 2009 Did Last.fm Just Hand Over User Listening Data To the RIAA? was suspect and may not be true. He responded:
This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.” The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.
Betteridge’s Law has become a byword for journalist laziness. By appending a question mark to the end of a headline you can absolve yourself of any responsibility for reasoned argument or any in-depth research, and the article is likely to be no more than fluff.
Which brings me to betteridgeslaw.com
This site publishes links to articles that satisfy Betteridge’s Law, and I have had the dubious honor of appearing with my article – Should I Wet My Pants Over the Blockchain?
I’ll leave it to you to judge whether that article of mine justifies inclusion, but when you slight an actuary you must face the consequences, and actuaries come out fighting!
What tools of the fighting trade do actuaries use, and what is their preferred weapon of choice? Do the actuarial exams have a module dedicated to Van Damme flying kicks, or training in Terminator style mayhem? Are newly minted actuaries issued with deadly nun-chucks?
An actuary’s preferred weapon of choice is the existential paradox.
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An Existential Paradox
With one cunning and subtle blow I will take down betteridgeslaw.com without resorting to anything humdrum like a DoS attack. No – this article itself is the weapon, payload and delivery.
- If the article is included on betteridgeslaw.com then the answer to the question Should This Post Be Featured On Betteridge’s Law .com? will be a clear ‘yes’. In which case the article is not an example of Betteridge’s Law and so should not be included on the site.
- Now consider the opposite, where the article is not included on betterisdgeslaw.com. In this case we have an article with a headline that ends in a question mark where the answer is ‘no’. It’s a clear case of Betterindge’s Law but is not being included on the site when it clearly should be included.
We have a paradox. This article can neither be included on the site, nor not included on the site. I fully expect betteridgeslaw.com to be instantly vaporized in a puff of existential quandary. Don’t mess with my shit guys!
Are you concerned about crossing an actuary? We are pretty dangerous when provoked! If you run a website and are worried about existential paradoxes vaporizing your site then leave a comment below.
Want to read something more serious? Then try Reprise! Sequence of Returns Risk.
Or perhaps something less serious? Then try 6 Unbelievable Reasons Why Listicles Won’t Make You Financially Independent
12 thoughts on “Should This Post Be Featured On Betteridge’s Law .com?”
I’ve never heard of Betteridge’s law, and had no idea what to expect clicking on the post.
Great explanation of the law, and the paradox you have created.
As a biology major who exclusively teaches HS physics, I am going to disagree with one part, because nothing will actually vaporize.
It is my theory that at least one extra dimension must have been created. Now there is a dimension where this post is included, and another where it is excluded. If you’re right and there was vaporizing, that’s another dimension.
However, since there is an imbalance in the amount of matter/anitmatter with matter winning in this iteration of the universe, there may be some residue left behind.
Great article and I appreciate your actuarial humor.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the words actuarial and humor in the same sentence! You’ve made my day Doc! Thanks for coming by, I appreciate it.
Thanks JS it certainty feels like blogging is a different dimension!
I stopped worrying about existential paradoxes long ago. In my mind, quantum physics solves them because if you can have the same particle simultaneously existing in opposing states, then you can easily have something that is both true and false at the same time.
For the record I thought the blockchain article was solid, engaging content; certainly not fluff. Maybe there should be an amendment to BL for ironic use cases of the question mark. Like, you were making fun of all the blockchain hysteria not copping out of publishing something meaningful.
Curious what kind of traffic boost if any you got from that listing.
Hey CFW thanks for dropping by. I didn’t get a whole lot of traffic from BL but traffic is a bit of a mystery. I’m just pleased to get some nice engaged readers 🙂
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Was the predicate Bourbon, Irish, Rye or Scotch? Maybe Red? I might have guessed Gin but there isn’t enough rage involved. IMHO the Blockchain article was blessed with a motor, and so it found a proper destination.
Write dunk, edit sober?
Nope, not me.
I just found this article through Rockstar Finance, and then I began exploring Betteridges Law website, which subsequently re-directed me to this post. Full circle.
That’s Iike a circular paradox, I love it!
Samantha, you can visit again! And next time you get all the Swedish Fish you can eat.
I’m on a crowded train and can’t stop laughing. Thank you. Apparently I like actuary humor. I previously had no idea that actuaries even had a sense of humor. Well played.
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