Simon Willison’s Weblog


Content slop has three important characteristics. The first being that, to the user, the viewer, the customer, it feels worthless. This might be because it was clearly generated in bulk by a machine or because of how much of that particular content is being created. The next important feature of slop is that feels forced upon us, whether by a corporation or an algorithm. It’s in the name. We’re the little piggies and it’s the gruel in the trough. But the last feature is the most crucial. It not only feels worthless and ubiquitous, it also feels optimized to be so. The Charli XCX “Brat summer” meme does not feel like slop, nor does Kendrick Lamar’s extremely long “Not Like Us” roll out. But Taylor Swift’s cascade of alternate versions of her songs does. The jury’s still out on Sabrina Carpenter. Similarly, last summer’s Barbenheimer phenomenon did not, to me, feel like slop. Dune: Part Two didn’t either. But Deadpool & Wolverine, at least in the marketing, definitely does.

Ryan Broderick