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How many squares?


December 19 2012

There's a puzzle making the rounds on social networks where one needs to count the squares in a geometric shape. The correct answer is 40.

However, whenever this puzzle appears on a social network, instead of having the conversation dominated by the correct answer, the conversation is dominated by a number of guesses, most of which are incorrect.

It's an interesting comment on Internet socal networks that incorrect information is so prevalent. Online communities have the same issue: When people become attached to an online community, pretty soon they believe the misconceptions said community has. This effect is often times called the "echo chamber" effect.

For example, I used to be an active member of a Linux-friendly community who frequently got upset that they did not have more commercial applications. One day, I had lunch with some professional software developers and they pointed out that they did not make more Linux software because there just was no money selling end-user software for Linux.

When I pointed this out to the online community I was a part of, the response was hostility and denial. The community had created a lie and did not want to see the truth. This experience taught me that online communities often times believe in lies.

For extremists who still believe the lie of mainstream commercial end-user software for Linux PCs: Please google "Loki Games". Or look at what happened to Corel in the early 2000s.

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