The Magic Box of Gluttony in the Land of Glut
A world without search
Once upon a time there was a magical world called Glut – Everything happened in the world of Glut, the people within it did all manner of things. They built pink castles from weather resistant marshmallows and cool lakes made out of lemonade and beer where hamburger flavoured fish swam. Some folks knew how to make really fast cars that ran on magic beans made by their friends in the forest of emeralds.
It all seemed ideal in the world of Glut but progress was slow. Few knew how to fish for the hamburger flavoured fish and the magic beans that grew in the forest of Emeralds were known but to the people of Fark. The bottom line was that news traveled slowly in Glut, information was often controlled by the powerful and where it wasn’t, it was difficult for merchants to gain wide reach or appeal for their ideas and products.
Building a search engine to conquer all
Up on a hill next to a mountain in a place called Gooleg there lived two special wizards.
They were clever wizards backed by the powers of InvestorLand who knew that everywhere they went in the world, people had ideas that they wanted to share so they went to a little known place called Altavistaland and took on the mighty wizard Inktomi where they learnt the secrets of Retrivicus Informanicus. They went to Microland and bought the ingredients required and built a big magic box.
The magic box would enable people to learn anything they liked – they’d be able to ask it questions and it would scour the world and find them any answer they needed. They of course, needed the worlds help and explained to merchants that they would visit them and scan their products and ideas and help spread their love to the world. Merchants who didn’t want to play were free to put up a little no thank you sign outside their stores but in reality, no one did.
People and merchants alike loved the magic box and word spread like wildfire. The two magicians became very famous and gained riches beyond their wildest dreams. Merchants clamoured to have their ideas and wares included in the box. Soon the box was brimming with everything and people even began to stop using their brains.
For a time, all was well and the world flourished as people innovated – the pink castles grew bigger and artificial rainbows could be summoned at will thanks to the inventions of Fred the artificial Unicorn maker.
The two magicians needed many hands to keep their box working, they employed little elves who had special powers that ensured that answers and information were checked for accuracy and usefulness.
Dissension amongst the masses
Over time, some residents of Glut felt that not everyone’s ideas and wares were freely accessible. The wizards and their elves protested and fought to assure the residents of Glut that information was provided based on a secret recipe that determined what was and what wasn’t useful. Not everyone was convinced, secret groups formed and protesters formed outside the walls of Gooleg. Among the protesters wagons arrived filled with people from Sampmer land.
Reverse engineering the algorithm
The Sampmerians were a clever breed of Gluts who were renowned for their own magic skills, they called meetings and put up posters imploring folks to come to them with their magic box problems. For small fees, the Sampmerians would help folks get their stuff in to the magic box. They used magic that few can could understand, some called it a dark art but it was much cheaper than paying magic tokens to answer every question.
Enforcing the rules of the box
The folks at Gooleg didn’t really like the folks from Sampmeria but were smart enough to realise that ordinary folks of limited magic token liked what they did. Rather than be accused of heavy handedness or worse still, vested self interest ( a terrible crime in the land of Glut) the guardians of the box drew up charters that dictated how or why a merchant would be selected for inclusion. These charters were often edited and changed to keep up with the magic practiced by the folks from Sampmeria and used warm, smooth language that seemed to be fair and simple to follow but in reality was a licence for the box guardians to slap merchants with penalties.
The Sampmerians weren’t silly of course and easily noticed that the box guardians removed merchants from the box, often silently. Where this happened Sampmerians would often protest and outline the hypocrisy of the box and call for greater transparency. Others would tow the wizard line and point at how a merchant had used a banned piece of magic to get them to the front of the answer queue, effectively cheating the fairness of the box.
Sometimes the box guardians pulled out their trumpets and stood atop their castle of Gooleg and proclaimed that a well known merchant had been removed from the box for using the darker arts of the Sampmerians whilst simultaneously proclaiming how they adored the compliant merchants who were more than welcome to use the advice offered by the white hatted Sampmerians.
The Sampmerians at their hearts had a simple message around how hard it was for the wizards and their elves to keep up with everything and that through them, people could set themselves free and compete with the Sadrowists * at a much cheaper price.
* A Sadrowist was a name given to folks who always appeared to have answers for folks before everyone else, they often wore off white or yellow tinged tunics to give their answers and they always answered above anyone wearing white alone, their hats were always pristine white and the wizards and elves loved them.
The rules of the magic box whilst not explicit, appeared to dictate that only people who paid with magic tokens were allowed to wear non white clothes everyone else had to wear white, there were no exceptions.
The biggest confidence trick in history
When people asked why this was, the guardians of the magic box explained that the box needed magic tokens to work properly, and magic tokens were a scarce resource and the acquisition of which was a multi-varied skill that whilst not everyone was able to master with ease; could in theory be acquired in sufficient numbers if try tried hard enough or had enough value in their answers.
After a time, ordinary people using the magic box became a little bored with the same old Sadrowist answers and found ways of using their own personal magic scrolls to get answers from the folks in white further down the queue. This was in part due to a perception that the elves and wizards weren’t really playing fair anymore and that people preferred to ask who they wanted rather than someone who’d barged their way to the front through access to magic tokens.
The magic box itself was a little like a Tardis. From the outside it was small but on the inside it was infinite, full of doors and rooms and alleys and vales. The box was patrolled by the elves and rooms were often inspected for compliance with the ever changing charter.
Merchants within had to wear white hats. Anything that was construed to be a shade darker and merchants risked being removed from their rooms within the box. The nature of the magic box meant that sometimes merchants had to push harder to get the front of the queue when a question was asked. When they did this, their hats would sometimes get grubby in the jostle and it was hard to keep them clean. Not everyone cared of course and people getting the right answers to their questions didn’t really care if the answered’s hat was a little bit dirty. Yet, the merchants knew their hats needed to be scrupulously clean so took great steps to ensure this was so, spending many magic tokens monthly to do so.
This of course made the folks at Gooleg very cross as they much preferred the merchants to spend their tokens with them and become Sadrowist in deed and nature. A fact of the power of the magic box was that if people didn’t use the Sadrowists then the power of the wizards and elves would diminish and the evil emperors Applejob or Zuckerface might rise in ascendancy
This meant that the folks at Gooleg could never really rest but for fear of aggravating the crowd, couldn’t be seen to overtly attack those who’d they’d built their fortunes and riches around, so resorted to elaborate measures to deter the Sampmerian followers.
They bred special animals that could sniff out the scent of a Sampmerian and apply blanket locks to the doors of merchants who’d used them, they’d call them cute little names like Puppy or Kitten rather than Rottweiler or Lion. This was devastating for the merchants forcing some to adopt Sadrowist garbs. Many starved and their families withered, for some it meant whole villages would be forced to eat cake. The wizards and elves proffered that if you had no magic tokens then your value to the world was limited and that ultimately there were better people around to answer user questions.
As time progressed the wizards of the box realised that they were winning the battle and that ordinary folk were a little bit thick and didn’t care or realise that the wizards were gathering the worlds information and silently killing off the originating sources. For some questions they began to answer things themselves. Elves were tasked with providing direct answers extracted from what was already known and where it wasn’t, then users were given an option of opening one of three doors to ask the originator themselves.
Information is no longer free
After a few years of this, the merchants had sold up and the wizard and their elves owned everything. Everyone worked for the wizards and to question them meant death and starvation. The pink castles turned grey and dank and the Unicorns all disappeared. The lakes of beer and lemonade had big fences erected around them and the hamburger fish had been eradicated, replaced by the fishes that tasted of horse.