Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
1/10/2006
03:54 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Not Digging the Mob Mentality

A whole community gave O'Reilly Media blogger and editor Steve Mallett a rude introduction to the pitfalls of social bookmarking, blogging and syndication yesterday. Popular technology news site and Slashdot heir-apparent Digg, where users control a story's prominence with their votes, promoted to the front page of that site a community member's accusation that Mallett purposefully stole Digg code to crea

A whole community gave O'Reilly Media blogger and editor Steve Mallett a rude introduction to the pitfalls of social bookmarking, blogging and syndication yesterday. Popular technology news site and Slashdot heir-apparent Digg, where users control a story's prominence with their votes, promoted to the front page of that site a community member's accusation that Mallett purposefully stole Digg code to create a couple of his own Web pages. The story garnered tremendous attention and hundreds of comments from the popular site. There's only one problem: Mallett never deliberately stole anything.I'll be the first to admit that I'm a big fan of Digg. But it turns out Mallett had only used open source code based on a Spanish Digg clone, which in turn stole the code, unbeknownst to Mallett. This opens this sort of social, Web 2.0 application (I can't believe I just wrote Web 2.0 there… d'oh, I wrote it again) to an issue I've long been wary of.

In my last venture before coming to InformationWeek, I helped design a socially-created blog that retained some editorial control specifically to avoid these types of situations. We let people post the news, but editors would update posts immediately if news shifted, changed, or turned out to be false.

The obvious problem is that Diggnation and like sites tend to gain a sort of fast-moving mob mentality. The same social centricity that makes it great for uncovering cool, important stories can open it up for trouble that spreads like wildfire. As Nathan Torkington eloquently writes on O'Reilly radar, "it's hard to aggregate the wisdom of the crowd without aggregating their madness as well."

Not that we in the semi-traditional media are anywhere near perfect, but the Web-mob has made its potential ugly side clear. Thankfully, Digg users have corrected themselves with a front page post acknowledging they were wrong. That's the right path for these things to take and could be taken as a positive example for how new media correct themselves.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from InformationWeek.com this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.