Blog posts tagged "reputation"

Privacy vs Agency

March 8th, 2006

One of the unfrequently mentioned costs of privacy is that you give up the ability to set your own frame. Or put more plainly, one of the benefits of blogging is taking control of your own story. (assuming you can manage the fairly minor feat of establishing yourself as credible source about you)

We don’t normally think in terms of the cost of privacy (other then as the operational cost imposed by one’s threat model), but it came up today, and I was intrigued. (See also Documentation in the Age of Google)

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Interestingness, Community, Infrastructure, and the Academy

October 28th, 2005

In the “few thoughts, loosely joined” school, Anil’s recent post The Interesting Economy, got me revisiting worn grooves, thinking about community.

Anil posits that Flickr’s users, creators of value and “interestingness” are getting short changed, or at least in the future our understanding of Flickr’s value proposition will lead us to conclude their users are being short changed. It’s part of an ongoing struggle to define our norms around participation, community, hosted tools, and ownership. (On a side note, syndication can mix into this explosively, as with this thread last Summer on Meetup and EVDB)

Actually Anil’s point was more interesting and more subtle, and worth reading, but as the signal bounced around the echo chamber, it degraded into “Hey, I make Flickr interesting, pay me!”.

I mean as software tends towards commodification (as t approaches 0), clearly Flickr derives its value from its participants, yes?

No. Quite the opposite.

I could replicate Flickr’s software (call it Flickah, a Boston Flickr derivative), give it away free, and still people would pay to be part of Flickr. And in fact if I ever managed to grow the community to a fraction of Flickr’s size I’d be in trouble. Flickr isn’t a photo hosting site, it’s a salon, and unsurprisingly value accumulates most quickly to the salon owner. Value arises from the centralization.

Community Service Models?

So assuming software, what alternatives models exist for a community to host a service they find useful? How do communities gain and support the values of centralization without handing over control? A Flickr, an Upcoming, or an Audioscrobbler provide value in direct proportion to the size of the community, while the centralization of a Google Maps (or a Geocoder) makes an expensive resource affordable. It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for a while (community+service). And a question I asked at techdinner recently to surprising results.

I expected to hear about grid computing, alternate economic models, p2p, etc. Instead it was suggested that maintaining such a resource, or at least some subset of such community resources is the role of the Academy in the 21st century. (less surprising given the presence of Berkman-ites in the crowd)

Perhaps not a Google Maps, or Flickr but maybe Harvard should be hosting the definitive URI for books? I was intrigued. (not to mention a little appalled given my stint doing tech for Higher Ed.)

Last thought, in the multitude responses to Anil, it was pointed out that interestingness can be gamed, as can most deployed reputation systems. Yet eBay works? How? By making buy in into the system cost real cash, something Flickr print is poised to do. As a print service not terribly exciting, but what a great way to quantify interestingness.

Documentation in the Age of Google

October 21st, 2004

When I was in high school I put some work into my conscientious objector portfolio. I let it slide after a few years when it became clear that CO status was probably going to remain a historical anomaly.

However the BBC’s “Google saves journalist” story makes me think that perhaps the concept isn’t moot, but merely mutated like so much in this modern age.

(alternate title: “You Shall Know Us by Our Pagerank”)

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CPAN & Reputation

March 5th, 2003

A few days of reading my scraped CPAN RSS feed, made me realize what an integral part of CPAN the PAUSE ids are. With so many…questionable…modules being uploaded it really helps to know who is what. I think this is one of the (many) examples where the CPAN clones fail to learn from CPAN’s success. So yeah, added the PAUSE ID to the feed.

update: I’ve moved the RSS feed (for the last time for foreseeable future) to CPAN recent module releases.

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I’m going to read these…

July 20th, 2002

…real soon now! The first 2 artciles touch on same ideas we’re struggling with on online collaboration, and how to build a new credibility model. The last is nominally what I’m getting paid to do these days, and should probably know something about :)

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Towards a credible voice

April 27th, 2002

Rabble recently said in Indymedia, Credibility, & Covering Palestine:

The NY Times is the bastion of credibility, their stories always reinforce a hegemonic perspective despite adherence to the ‘facts.’ Now many in alternative journalism want to out do the NY times, using the same objectivity but just replacing it with another paradigm for viewing the world.

I don’t think this will work for two reasons. First off they have almost all the money. Secondly we aren’t advocating the kind of world that will fit neatly in to one modernist perspective. Unlike the Marxist-Leninist of old who had THE answer, today we have many answers and even more questions. For a credible media to be created in this new networked, postmodern if you like, world we need to fully reconstruct what we mean by credibility.

MediaGeek is also talking about these ideas, responding to this “surprisingly fair and mostly accurate” article by the Washington Post.


in the end, crafting content requires selection, shortening, simplification and even a mildly authoritarian editorial brain making decisions
Mainstream news organizations, like the Washington Post, are very concerned with creating an air of authority and maintaining the illusion that their reporting is utterly consistent, complete, fair and authoritative… regardless of how well a story is researched, reported and written, it cannot be singularly authoritative — any such appearance is the just the effect of style that we have been trained to read as “objective” or “true.”

Yeah. Thats what I’ve been trying to say!

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