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Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus
fallenpegasus
Choice. Diversity. Equity. You can't have all three.
An interesting article. So, if you rail and battle against the evil of inequity, face the music. Which are you willing to kill? Choice? Or diversity?
Because it seems that the law is "Choice. Diversity. Equity. Pick no more than two."

Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

Prior to recent theoretical work on social networks, the usual explanations invoked individual behaviors: some members of the community had sold out, the spirit of the early days was being diluted by the newcomers, et cetera. We now know that these explanations are wrong, or at least beside the point. What matters is this: Diversity plus freedom of choice creates inequality, and the greater the diversity, the more extreme the inequality.

In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.
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Comments
elfs From: elfs Date: February 12th, 2003 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

That was particularly cool...

For those of us who've been on Usenet for a decade, it wasn't anything new or obvious. On the other hand, he does point out one weakness in the "a-list" system: it takes daily input and it's expected to be personal. Once that starts to drop off, and it will as people do, the list will shift and morph over time.

All I hope is that my blog becomes useful to the people who read me, and allows me to keep track of what they want by their input. That's a small audience and I'll be happy with it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2003 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Not so Binary!

For example, you can give up a little bit of choice for a little bit of equity.

Some times, that little loss of choice is near insignificant, but the little gain in equity is enormous.

Consider group meetings. Generally it's a "whoever has something important to say says it" situation. But people will also elect, "Let's hear what everyone has to say," for the sake of naturally quieter members. So the attention moves from person to person. Result: A little less choice, but a little bit more equity, equity that may make all the difference.

Just because you aren't loud, doesn't mean that you have something good to say.
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