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Journal athloi's Journal: Is Slashdot "groupthink"? 1

/., et. al., tend to promote "groupthink" which is what Guy was talking about when he disdained digg. (Not to mention the diggers' gaming of the system.

If I were a great writer, I'd have some strong opening line about how wrong this guy is. Instead, I'm going to waffle, and hope that I'm clever enough to keep it entertaining.

Groupthink isn't something confined to any one place, in my view, and it's not something you can legislate out of existence. When you put a site online, people will join its community, and groupthink will result, but not among all people.

Probably most of what gets posted to Slashdot in the comments is junk, and some good things don't get modded up, but that's what happens when moderation is turned over to a community. If they tried to hire moderators to do it, well, who would take that job?

Compared to Digg and other social networking sites, Slashdot is a breath of fresh air for the people who have the wit to write something both informed and constructive. It's not as easy as it sounds, and it's why I don't comment on many topics. I have nothing informative and constructive to say about Hans Reiser's murder conviction, except that I think he should keep developing ReiserFS from jail, and someone else will have said that better.

What I like doing instead to counteract groupthink is to highlight people who have said intelligent things, either by friending them or replying. That helps a community grow. Groupthink will always be with us, and any community needs editors to keep content from turning to the lowest common denominator, but nothing will replace the community members being active in fighting back stagnation of all forms.

These comments are mine alone, but it'd be great if some of you thoughtful people out there (I know you're there) weighed in on this thread. When it's done, I'm sending the URL to the original techblog post and will let the editor there, Dwight Silverman, see what he thinks of it.

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Is Slashdot "groupthink"?

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  • it'd be great if some of you thoughtful people out there (I know you're there) weighed in on this thread.

    Groupthink arises when there is a negative consequence (social, political, physical) associated with disagreeing with a firmly stated belief. It's not that people are necessarily weak willed or uninformed, but the price paid for nonconformance determines how attractive nonconformance is.

    Where differing opinions get you shouted down, flamed, stalked or (in certain cases) taken out behind the chemical shed

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.