Important Questions About What Matters as we make an Ad Hoc Community Algorithm to Describe Blog Communities and Weight Bloggers In Them...
J. LeRoy on Convergence and Procreation talking about ad hoc groups in the blogosphere:
To tie this into my recent posts about rankings and tracking of expertise on the net, I want to note the transience of thought on the individual, the right to multiple associations, and the healthy aspects of not being an expert.
Right on! Dynamically generated communities will be key to this process, because day-to-day, these communities shift, and yet, it is also important to see conversation over time. The blogosphere is often self correcting, and bad actors get modded down over time, with useful work modded up. So we must achieve a balance in this dichotomy.
These groups and communities on the net are well formed. And, yes, the conversation is well formed and on-going, but we should be wary of rankings that build up expert or superblogger status on given individuals.
1 Ad Hoc Groups are created to solve problems
2 Blogs' subject matter is transient
This leads me to wonder how we would establish relevance of blog posters by community indicators when the communities themselves are in flux by design. Communities defined by a given area of interest will tend to highlight those who are perhaps overly focused on those areas of interest. It may yield a search of those who are tunnel visioned and not those who are innovative.
So what are the metrics that help balance tunnel vision with newness and interestingness in a community and the weighting of blogs, to discover innovation? Or do we use the metrics we have now, but tune them to balance these concerns?
Julie Leung in Now serving: Blogher Bouillabaisse:
Why do metrics matter? From dialogue I've read, it seems metrics matter because they matter to the media. The Top Whatever blogs are the ones that will be referenced and used to represent blogging to the majority of people in the world who don't blog. They in a sense become who we are. Yet as Staci Kramer pointed out in the discussion, not all journalists care about the Top lists either.
Why should metrics matter to a blogger like me? I've been taking a bit of my own Blogging 101 advice these past couple weeks and considering what it is I am trying to do here. Why am I blogging? Sure, I use Technorati. In fact on the Blogher survey before the conference, I checked that I do care about traffic. I've even cried over my Technorati ranking. But that was mostly because I wanted to be involved in conversations. I wanted to know that others were reading and responding. And I also had mistaken ideas about what my Technorati rating should be, after seeing my husband's statistics. I've now realized I'll never have the links and traffic he does. We are blogging for different - but overlapping - communities and in separate niches.
All I want to do is write well and have good conversations. As far as finding good blogs, rankings only reveal what lots of people who link like to link. They are not necessarily indicators of good writing or good blogging or even blogs I want to read. I use Technorati, Feedster and PubSub to know who is linking and talking to me. But as for my ranking, I don't need to know it in order to blog or to sense I am blogging successfully.
Asking ourselves why we blog is very important in this discussion. It can lead us to uncover some implicit motivations and activities we engage in, that might help us with this effort. On reason I blog is to create a knowledge management system for myself. Another is to point to things I'm interested in, sharing that with others. And I like having an opinion exposed now and then. Digging deeper will help expose the answer to the broader issue at hand: finding out who does what, and what is done by whom, and what and who matter.
Mathemagenic in Link love: lists, clouds and action points asks from 'what to how?" and wonders.. where to get the data:
But it starts with the data. And the data is not public.
I can not speak for others, but I can talk about problems we have with the data needed for our research (which addresses some of the "link love" aspects). What we need to develop algorithms and tools are pretty simple: blog content in "full-text RSS quality" via APIs...
We tried many of the current blog indexing tools: no luck (those that are pretty close to what we need, BlogPulse, Technorati and Bloglines are either consider the data they collect commercial or do not have APIs to access it). As a results Anjo is working on weblog spider instead of community discovery algorithm.
Data is an issue. However, we will ask companies collecting data to help us. Three have firmly committed to running a community algorithm against their data, along with a startup in stealth mode, that also has a complete database. We'd love to have as many blog search companies as possible on board for this ad hoc community experiment. I've seen this experiment as something of a partnership between companies who create blog search for readers, bloggers, PR people, advertisers, and marketers, and the blogging community that is talking about this effort. If others see problems with this, please tell us.
Posted by Mary Hodder at August 24, 2005 08:01 AM