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November 3, 2004
technorati vote links
I probably shouldn’t be writing anything at all on a day when I feel this curmudgeonly, but the unveiling this week of Technorati’s “vote links” has spurred me to finally post here again.
It was close to two years ago that I first heard this idea surfaced in a discussion related to emergent democracy. Then, as now, I agreed that Google’s approach to PageRank—in which all links are created equal, regardless of context or intent—was flawed. But I argued then, and still feel now, that using the terminology of “voting” was equally flawed. I’m deeply uncomfortable with reducing everything to a binary vote, and with tinging every link with an explicit or implicit stance.
Not everything is an election. Not everything is a “for” or “against.” Suppose, for example, I come across an extremely well-written article that I don’t agree with. Am I “for it” because I think it’s worth reading and considering? Or am I “against it” because I disagree with the content?
Yes, PageRank and its cousins are flawed. Yes, we need a better way to be able to link to something without boosting it. But no, I don’t think this is the way.
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