September 21, 2005
The wisdom of crowds? Not exactly...

This could be really old news, but I never heard of the "Flag as objectionable" button on top of all blogs before. There's a glib, self-congratulatory description of the feature here that says:

This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable. Have you read The Wisdom of Crowds? It's sort of like that.

No, Blogger. It's nothing like that.
The wisdom of crowds effect works only given certain preconditions, the most important being this: The members of the crowd need to be accountable for their opinion.
On Wikipedia your accountability is a social phenomenon, if nobody knows your work, nobody takes you seriously - it's a classic system of peers.
On Amazon it's an economic phenomenon, it costs money to buy books, hence recommendations work as a market, and good stuff floats.
On Google it's also a social phenomenon, but here the lack of accountability begins to creep in. It's possible to just be loud and drown out other opinions, it's called google bombing.
Blogger's "Flag this is objectionable" is more akin to a newspaper quick poll - and personally I have never seen a quick poll I would be willing to take seriously.

Posted by Claus at September 21, 2005 09:03 PM | TrackBack (0)
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