The article addresses issues and challenges concerning the use of big data. It covers issues such as how some data can be wrongfully interpreted if it’s taken out of context, the subjectivity of data interpretation and how the use of a dataset can be wrong seen from an ethical perspective.
The style and language used is academic but written in an easily understandable way. But sometimes they make use of more advanced words; mostly they explain these as seen with “apophenia” on page 668 (Boyd & Crawford, 2012, p. 668). But when they quote others, they aren’t always that good at explaining the advanced words, which are used in the quote. This can for an example be seen, when they quote Bowker’s use of the word “oxymoron” on page 663 (Boyd & Crawford, 2012, p. 663). When they are using quotes with these more advanced words, it would be good if they made better use of the quote, and explained it more thoroughly.
Another point of critique would be their use of repetition, they use a lot of space on repeating themselves, instead of getting along with the point, they are trying to make. The clearest example of this is the fact that they have such a long introduction, which contains many of their ideas and findings. Whereas they could have teased their paper more subtly in the introduction and hold on to their points until it was relevant. An example of this would be when they in the introduction say: “Features like personalization allow rapid access to more relevant information, but they present difficult ethical questions and fragment the public in troubling ways.” (Boyd & Crawford, 2012, p. 664). This reveals too much of what they want to tell in their fifth provocation “Just because it is accessible does not make it ethical”. Instead, they should just have made a short remark about, how they wish to reflect upon the ethical use of Big Data.
Lastly, I wish to give them some praise as well, as I like the way they wish to teach about the use of big data, especially the point about it not being this godly thing someone paints it out to be, but that it as everything, has its flaws. I think they are great at stating their points, as their use of language isn’t too complex for its intended reader.