Social Web: microcosm of 'real world' social, and anti-social, behavior

The Social Web often presents its user-driven sites as civilizing, democratizing community endeavors which harness a “collective wisdom.

In “Social freeloaders: Is there a collective wisdom and can the Web obtain it?” I discuss the dangers of misinformation and vandalism at Wikipedia:

the proliferation of "nonsense pages,” "revert wars" and “vandalism” at “The Free Encyclopedia” has led to a qualification of the site’s seemingly universal open editing claim.

In “Digg contributor: Social Web can be a 'very cruel place'” I discuss the sometimes intimidating atmosphere would-be user contributors face:

a cliquish social dynamic that is playing out at many Social Web properties. It is ironic that Web sites which are wholly dependent on active, engaged users contributing to “the collective wisdom,” are often breeding grounds for destructive, anti-social member behavior.

In “Digg: 'newspaper of the Web', or its gossip column?” and “Gossip, key to engaging Social Web community?” I discuss how “gossip” is often a motivating factor in Social Web user contributions:

Perhaps we should call Digg a gossip column, for while Digg commentary is entertaining and colorful, it is often not newsworthy.

In “Calacanis new 'Robin Hood' of the Web?” I discuss AOL and Netscape.com exec Jason Calacanis’ recent public “recruitment “ of user contributors from competing Social Web properties:

Calacanis’ “generous” public “recruitment” announcements may be welcomed by “poor” volunteer Social Web contributors as “Robin Hood” style sharing of wealth.

On the other hand, small Social Web start-ups at risk of losing the volunteer contributors they depend upon to generate their content, may view Calacanis’ public "recruitment" announcements as “Robin Hood” style poaching.

Calacanis’ public, commercial challenge to the Social Web community has sparked debate about the “purity” of "volunteer" Social Web contributors. A commenter at Calacanis’ blog, James, notes today:

What a lot of people out there want is traffic. And a lot of people are submitting their own content to places like digg, reddit, netscape, etc. Perhaps you could capitalize on this need for people have to get traffic. Some people out there complain or get annoyed when a story is submitted and it doesn't go to the original source. I say who cares. If I find a good story and put a better spin on it, then screw it...I get the traffic.

What I want is traffic. Well really..I want money.

The comment reflects commercial motivations that are often behind anonymous Social Web user “contributions.”

In “Digg contributor: Social Web can be a 'very cruel place'” I discuss how behavior at Social Web properties generally reflects motivations and behaviors transpiring offline:

While self-centered and spiteful behavior manifested at Web sites relying solely on user contributions may merely reflect similar undesirable behavior transpiring offline, the Social Web often presents its user-driven sites as civilizing, democratizing community endeavors which harness a “collective wisdom.

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