Archive for August 30th, 2007

Does “important enough” make sense?

Seth Godin launches SquidWho, an online, free-for-all Who is who. It seems like the squids are trying to occupy the niche of truly user-generated content opened by the more recent editing restrictions at Wikipedia (‘A good friend attempted to post her bio and was rejected, “not notable enough.” ‘).

It seems he believes with all his American idealism that user-generated content should be free (where I agree) and also that there is a meaningful line of defining what user-generated content is (where I disagree). What is user-generated content anyway? What’s the difference to edited content?

Edited content is if only a selected population can create content, such as in newspapers. User-generated content means that everybody can create content… or does it? Alas, that definition includes even spammers in the list. Spam is generated by people (or machines created by people), too. You might say spam is not “real” content, but then so would be other advertising. Since advertising’s role is “remind, persuade, inform”, it cannot really be ruled out as an inferior type of content – advertising informs just like a wikipedia article. It just tries to sell a bit harder.

Now, obviously, most people will notice the difference between an ad and a lexicon article – just like most people won’t confuse spam for legitimate email. My point is not to say that these things are indistinguishable. My point is, that there is no exact line between them. It’s a continuous scale and it would look something like this:

Continuous scale of editing rigorosity

I named it the “Continuous scale of editing rigorosity”. It is not intended to be a measurement of quality as some of the wonderful blogs and lenses or lousy articles would testify!

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