Site specific random surfing and related subjects

random pageSome of you may have noticed that this blog now has a Random Page feature. The way I heard it, StumbleUpon announced a Site Specific Stumbling facility; someone asked Photo Matt whether there was a WordPress plug-in that did something similar, and soon there was one. Because Matt built it. Thanks, Matt! and thanks as well for the link to Curt Schilling, fascinating…. particularly for someone like me who follows cricket….

What Matt did is a perfect example of what I meant in an earlier post:

Scarcity models are by definition not scale-free; a hit culture prevails. Opensource, given the lower barriers to entry, allows someone to build a left-handed credit derivatives juicer because he felt like it. There’s a long-tail effect. You are more likely to find esoteric tools in an opensource world than in a closed source one. Opensource people don’t go around asking “Is there a market for this?” They solve problems and see if others have similar problems to solve.

Things happen in opensource communities, happen in ways that are fundamentally different from traditional models. The WordPress community is a good example of how this happens, how an ecosystem evolves around a many-sided marketplace. What Matt did is what opensource people do. And it is worth bearing in mind that while we speak of the community at large, work is actually carried out by individuals. Individual people doing individual things, but aligned to a common set of values and ethics. Values which include experimentation and learning and sharing and transparency and openness and component architecture and reuse. Values which do not include Not Invented Here and selfishness and not-sharing.

What you see in action is the A in NEA. Anyone can improve it. [See earlier post on CIOs and responsibility]. So now I look forward to further improvements, as someone adds collaborative filtering support to site specific “stumbling”.

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