Not Digging the Mob Mentality - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
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
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
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.
Flash Poll