John Lebkowski is a very accomplished thinker, and I've read his stuff with interest for years, but he made a post on his blog that drove me to make this comment

Umm, why do you think Jaron's essay was flawed? I thought it was a great warning against putting too much faith in the idea of "the Wisdom of Crowds" Sometimes, as in Wikipedia, when the crowd is focused on one goal, the crowd is wise. Sometimes, it's not. It's important to understand the situations where the sum is greater than the whole, and situations where everything descends to the lowest common denominator. See Digg for example.

Also, he talks about the loss of authorship on these sites. One of the things I like about the internet is it's unabashed first person voice. Sites like Wikipedia and Digg tend to take away that voice, and dilute it down to a bland monotone.

Now how is that "flawed?"

I agree with a lot of the comments and refutations on the essay, but I think they serve to clarify Jaron's point, not blindly dismiss it as you do.


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13 June 2006