In the section "Mayfield's Ecosystem" it is unclear from where the numbers 12 and 150 come. Do you have more background on it, or a reference? Or indicate that these numbers come from Mayfield.
In the section "The Strength of Weak Ties", the last four paragraphs are very important for the entire paper. I think the paragraph starting with "Noise in the system..." needs more work; it is not yet as easy to read as the one starting with "Many bloggers begin...". Perhaps you just wanted to rephrase the paragraph starting with "Many bloggers begin...", but include more numbers? Then you can perhaps merge both into one big paragraph. Or can rewrite it from a more subjective point of view: "To illustrate what has been said above, using the various numbers, this is how it would work: ..." -- AlexSchroeder
o Yup. I should put them in. I don't know where 12 comes from, but 150 comes from "The Tipping Point" -- JoiIto
o Yes. I agree. I should rewrite this the way you say. Hmm... Maybe I will do it when I finished doing some more study on direct democracy and include it in the paper at that time. These two paragraphs ARE a bit redundant... -- JoiIto
The section "Trust" reminded me of the fact that nowhere do you say anything about the motivation for weblogging. You don't even say that you don't know why people do it. This could be important, because you need to explain why people weblog instead of joining political parties (or exhibit any other kind of organzied behaviour). Something about leveraging the tendency of people to chat, to gossip, the need to build a positive reputation, to gain trust (!), etc. -- AlexSchroeder
o Good point. I personally find that blogging addictive, increases my social network and produces output of (questionable) value. There are MANY reasons that draw me into blogging which is why it is so addictive. The instant feedback of IM, the human networking and friendship/trust building, learning, having my ideas disseminate wide, getting feedback on my ideas, deal-flow... I guess one of the problems with this "paper" is that it is fairly flat and not written in first person so I do not have anywhere were I can be passionately personal about how I feel. Stylisticly, how do you recommend I insert this in the paper? Advice would be appreciated... -- JoiIto
The connection between linking and trust is not clear either. I can certainly think of more motivations to link than trust, and I seriously doubt people link as a sign of support in most cases. Rather, I think it's more to do with interest, and interest isn't bound to trust. If anything, linking demonstrates popularity. While you had quietly argued that popularity equates to trustworthiness earlier in the essay when you argue for populism, that point is weak enough to demand a clearer path between linking and trust. -- SunirShah
I agree Sunir. This is something we're trying to figure out right now... I think we can add attributes to links which is interesting, but is a bit clunky. Also, there is differentiating blogroll links from article links. I think there are a variety of types of trust being managed here. Trust that a link will be worth reading, trust that someone will be helpful, trust that someone is who they say they are, trust that a fact is true, etc. I think that creating a rich medium capable of allowing many types of trust to be develop is what we are looking for. Trust, to me is a kind glue that allows the network to create a context... -- JoiIto
In regards to the linking/trust issue Sunir, I believe that in the SocialText wiki, there is an interesting discussion of creating the ability to give a negative value to a link, with the standard being a positive link. -- MarkDilley
After thinking about it, a lot of linking has to do with negative criticism. Those can't be "trust" or "support" links. I think it's a mistake to ascribe emotional value to links. Links are just links; just structure. -- SunirShah
2.3 Blogs Reprivitization of Legislature?
Now, I don't know if you are seriously advocating reprivitizing the legislature. I think what you are mainly getting at is the reorganization of the media, from one set of private hands to another set of private hands. This, I can hardly say is a bad thing, and I can definitely agree with you that weblogs have been frankly amazing in their abilities. However, as you know, large moneyed corporations are starting to pay attention, not to mention small moneyed corporations that have controlled the game from the beginning (e.g. DaveWiner). The question deserves to be asked, what can be done to ensure a diversity of ideas? And does this really mean we should reconsider EmergentDemocracy? -- SunirShah
Good point. As you may know, I am a venture capitalist and have just made an investment in Six Across which produces Movable Type. I'm going to think about this point a bit more before I post more... -- JoiIto
Look out for an as yet un-published study by anthropologist Jean Ensminger, since 1998 she has been part of the Mac-Arthur Foundation "preferences research group," which supports a cross-cultural project to test a number of notions about sharing, cooperation, self-interest and trust through the use of experimental economics. Experimental economics is a key methodolgy for economics right now, it's the one Toshio Yamagishi uses as well.
I think results from this study may challenge conventional wisdom on how trust and cooperation evolve within a culture. One of the main results being that levels of trust co-evolove with institutions and the complexity of economies. This suggests that trust and cooperation could be learned and that the feedback loop between economic behavior and quality of life is the driver. What did Marx say about the 'dialectic' ?
To quote her directly "Even more counterintuitive to con-ventional economic theorizing, says Ensminger, is that the more involved a society is in a market economy—that is, working for wages, or raising something (crops or cattle) and selling it in order to live—the fairer people tend to be. Across 16 societies studied around the world, the United States is the most fair-minded reported to date, while hunter-gatherers are the least." Caltech page -- EduardoSciammarella
Which came first? Do market economies encourage trust, for instance by the presence of a neutral regulator to promote fairness? Or do market economies require trust in order to emerge? Or, as suggested in the previous paragraph, do market economies and trust co-evolve under the influence of more complex supply chains and legal systems? -- KatherineDerbyshire
Blogs and Campaign Finance
I was just thinking about one way in which a more emergent democracy might really help. Campaign finance. The less people get their information from a few massive sources which can easily be manipulated with huge amounts of money, the less money will distort our political system. Unfortunately, there may possibly be another problem which has to be solved even more urgently, and I'm not sure how emergent democracy can do it. I wrote about it at [WWW]http://www.theartofpeace.blogspot.com. I'll make that link more specific when blogger lets me. -- DavidWeisman
I don't know to which article you are referring. Could you provide a date? Thanks -- BayleShanks
I still feel that a much better way to curb the influence of money is to alot all parties a (small) budget to use for campaigns, plus the appropriate transparency requirements, and the option of sueing for competitors when fraud is suspected. The reason blogging and wiki are good sources of news at the moment is because the content cannot easily be manipulated by money. Other facts such as many people, feedback, independent publishing, etc., are just incidental. Already it is getting harder to even *find* interesting and trustworthy news communities. -- AlexSchroeder
Yes, I think PublicFinancing is the a very important solution to the influence of money in politics. I feel that it might be the single most necessary/desirable change for the U.S. political system now. I am disappointed that no one seems to be trying it. Are there any countries that do it this way? 100% public (equal for all candidates; i.e. quasi-single party states don't count ) financing? -- BayleShanks