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Related: criticism - opinion - peer review

Shared opinions [...]

When faced with information overload, how can we focus on the best and ignore the rest? Opinions are a crucial method for the distributed filtering and judging of information. For example, many users of Amazon.com find its book ratings, comments, and similar books features to be a convenient first pass for finding high-quality items.[...]

Shared opinions drive society: what we read, how we vote, and where we shop are all heavily influenced by the choices of others. However, the cost in time and money to systematically share opinions remains high, while the actual performance history of opinion generators is often not tracked.

This article explores the development of a distributed open opinion layer, which is given the generic name of TOOL. Similar to the evolution of network protocols as an underlying layer for many computational tasks, we suggest that TOOL has the potential to become a common substrate upon which many scientific, commercial, and social activities will be based.

Valuation decisions are ubiquitous in human interaction and thought itself. Incorporating information valuation into a computational layer will be as significant a step forward as our current communication and information retrieval layers. --Hassan Masum in http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_7/masum/index.html, May 2002

Peer to peer (P2P) [...]

Generally, a peer-to-peer (or P2P) computer network refers to any network that does not have fixed clients and servers, but a number of peer nodes that function as both clients and servers to the other nodes on the network. This model of network arrangement is contrasted with the client-server model. Any node is able to initiate or complete any supported transaction. Peer nodes may differ in local configuration, processing speed, network bandwidth, and storage quantity. Popular examples of P2P are MP3 file sharing-networks. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

Publish my taste [...]

Peer-to-peer raises the possibility for people interested in a topic to create their own language for talking about it. While different communities may all share an underlying infrastructure, like Jabber's chat service or Gnutella file sharing, the structure of the users' data can emerge directly from the users.

Metadata, which describes each file and the elements within it, holds the key to self-organization. XML is a good foundation -- but only a foundation, because it just offers a syntax. Building on the XML foundation, schemas hold some promise for structuring both content and users' reactions to the content. One slogan we considered was, "Publish my taste, not just my music files." --Andy Oram

The new commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization founded on the notion that some people would prefer to share their creative works (and the power to copy, modify, and distribute their works) instead of exercising all of the restrictions of copyright law. [...]


Amazon has not revolutionalised the bookselling industry because it offers such a vast collection of books, many of which are cheaper than at high-street bookstores. Neither because it has laid the ground for cross-selling opportunities by deploying highly sophisticated CRM technologies which track and record every single customer click. What is so special about Amazon.com is that it invites readers to send reviews of books and to rate them on a five-star scale along with a commentary expressing their thoughts and opinions on the book. Authors have the right to reply and other reviewers can comment on how useful the review was to them but they cannot change the review. --George Dafermos


One of the oddest things about the Internet is that despite its purportedly revolutionary nature, it has yet to produce anything revolutionary. Shopping without actually visiting a store? Catalogues have let people do the same thing for decades. Instant communication over global distances? Available since the invention of the telegraph. Electronic mail? A century ago, most urban areas had so many daily postal deliveries that people could exchange several messages a day. Instant, uncontrollable diffusion of information? Despite Victor Hugo's efforts in 1862 to control the publication of Les Misérables, which included sequestering the galleys, pirate publishers produced eleven bootleg editions of his mammoth novel in Belgium alone within a week of its appearance. The technological tools are faster and more efficient today than they were before, but they're not different in kind. MP3 could change that. -- Charles C. Mann MP3

Michel Bauwens

[...]After the destruction of internet innovation by the financial sector, and the stifling Intellectual Property Laws voted by Congress in the US, there is little excitement to expect in 'official circles' during the next few years, with industrial leaders playing much the same role as the feudal corporations during the emergence of capitalism: trying to stop the innovation and overturning of the productive forces. I am increasingly interested in the growing conflict between the inherently cooperative nature of the intellectual work that is central to cognitive capitalism, and the inability to harness this. [...] http://noosphere.cc/peerToPeer.html [...]


Some interesting sites on the online audio and the music industry:
  • http://research.microsoft.com/crypto/openbox.asp Microsoft, which loses billions in revenue to software piracy every year, feels the record industry’s pain.
  • http://www.eff.org/Intellectual_property/Audio/free_music.article
  • http://old.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/anarchism.html
  • http://www.musicbrainz.org MusicBrainz is the second generation incarnation of the CD Index. This server is designed to enable Audio CD and MP3/Vorbis players to download metadata about the music they are playing. All of the data collected on this server is made available to the public under the OpenContent license.


    1. Peer-to-Peer : Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies - Andy Oram [1Book, Amazon US]
      Software projects like Napster and Freenet have challenged traditional approaches to content distribution with their use of peer-to-peer file-sharing technologies. In this book, key peer-to-peer pioneers offer insight on how the technology has evolved and where it's going. They draw on their experiences in business and technology to explore problems and solutions and contemplate the future of computer networking. Issues discussed include accountability, security, metadata, performance, and interoperability. Oram writes and edits books on programming and networking. [...]
    2. Sonic Boom -- John Alderman [1Book, Amazon US]
      Napster may or may not be a factor in the music scene of the future, but its extraordinary rise--and the attention it focused on the MP3 digital audio format--has ensured its status as a key figure in bringing this new type of sound recording to public consciousness. Sonic Boom, by veteran cyberjournalist John Alderman, cogently recounts the brief but tumultuous story that led up to this upstart song-trading exchange attracting 500,000 users each night--along with the wrath of the traditional recording industry.

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