A Service I Want

I would like an algorithm or service that would suggest arguments, opinions, and points of view from smart people trusted within their communities but with whom I am likely to disagree or whose communities I am underexposed to. I do not think I am alone in this desire.

I attempt to get some of this out of who I follow on Twitter (and it was a great use for Google Reader -- may it rest in peace), but that is a pretty imperfect system. I also routinely ask others to suggest sources I might like to fulfill these needs, but I have found that many struggle to make good suggestions.

Noble Returns to the Pavilion, from "W.G.", cricketing
reminiscences and personal recollections
Public domain book from the Internet Archive.

One of the tricky things about this algorithm or service is that it would need to distinguish between those arguments and communities that I care about, those that I do not, and those I am repulsed by. For example, I am probably underexposed to cricket enthusiasts but I don’t care much about cricket anymore and don’t want more information. Another example is that I have not read anything about the Parkland victims being actors conspiracy theories but I would be actively repulsed if a service suggested that I should read about it.

My suspicion is that one of the reasons services serve up filter-bubble content based on the engagement metrics of friend groups and similar users is because it is much easier than finding good, challenging material to suggest to users. That said, I wonder if the later might be more fulfilling to the user over the long term and result in a stickier service if it could be achieved.

Do you know of a service doing a good job of this? Do you have ideas for users or publications that would fit this bill for me? If so, please send them my way at @amac.

C.L. Townsend, Playing Forward, from "W.G.", cricketing
reminiscences and personal recollections
Public domain book from the Internet Archive.

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