When You Empower the Masses
1 min read

When You Empower the Masses

Kudos to Digg CEO Jay Adelson for having a fairly credible perspective on the alleged stock manipulation via stories on Digg (re: Google’s rumored purchase of Sun) that has been causing such a dust-up:

When you’re empowering the mass, you have to be careful about quality control. It would be unfair to label all of Web 2.0 and Ajax and all those technologies as necessarily making gaming easier. However like with any powerful technology, it’s incumbent upon the developers to do a good job of preventing that.

(Via Blogspotting. The stock manipulation accusation was originally leveled by Silicon Valley Sleuth.)

Adelson understands that he’s playing with fire, and they’ve installed fired extinguishers all over Digg:

Now users can bury a story as well as promote it. They can report a story as being ‘lame’, spam, a duplicate story, a bad link, old news or inaccurate. If the system receives enough reports, the story disappears from the home page. If it’s flagged as inaccurate, a warning banner appears at the top of the post.

That said, Adelson is quoted on Silicon Valley Sleuth as saying, “I don’t think it’s possible to game Digg because it requires such a mass of people who have been vetted through our algorithms.”

This smacks of Google’s insistence that they’re on top of click fraud. By “empowering the masses,” Web 2.0 is dealing with an elemental force — human malfeasance. No matter how many barriers you put up, like water, human malfeasance will always seep through.

This is not the fault of Web 2.0, but when you invite the world in, you’re inviting in the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s very 1.0 to think you can keep out the part you don’t want.