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The lack of real-world physics makes online communities easy to abuse...

March 30, 2004

Matt Haughey puts his finger right on the pulse of the problems with online communities in a little post called Fixing the wheel all over again - that we don't think right at the beginning when we're developing new technologies about those solid foundational problems that plague each and every online communications mechanism - spam, abuse, denial of service, stable identities and the like. These are the things that the real world gives us by default - it gives us geography, it gives us limitations of time and it requires that actions take effort. We don't want to replicate those restrictions - if we did there would be no advantages to communicating online - but the core of any future online community/communications system will be the attempt to find new innovative mechanisms that have similar qualities except in different areas. More thoughts on that later in the day.

Comments

Sencer said:

The funny thing is, what as he is saying can happen a few years in the future is already happening now. We have badly implemented "bluetoothfirmware" in all kinds of current appliances that allow people to do a load of things, the most popular of which is bluejacking (sending a vcard or sth. similar to a recipient without him having to acknowledge or even find out until he browses his phonebook). :)

However that is due to insufficient implementation. The protocol in itself is alot more secure than e.g. WiFi. So I wouldn't say it's all those problems all over again, there are solutions and new products show that thought has gone into this.

There are already solutions for "opt-in real-identities" online. You can use GPG/PGP for that. It works for emails, files, Instant Messaging, there even exists a MovableType-Comment plugin. The question is: Do we want sth. like this to be mandatory?

Waldo Jaquith said:

It's ironic that, as we use technology to make things easier, we simultaneously have to use technology to make it harder to make things easier, to prevent it from getting too easy.

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