Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Memeorandum and peer review 

I am sure I'm not the first person to mention this, but I am rather annoyed that Memeorandum is no longer picking up posts here; they were not too long ago. It turns out that their model is that posts are peer-reviewed and they trim you off the list rather regularly if you don't keep up your referrals. That is, if you aren't getting links to specific stories, you're not getting onto Memeorandum. I'd've thought a blog with as many linking blogrolls and readers as this one wouldn't need constant referrals but there you are.

I had believed that the blogosphere was to be about diversity of thought and original ideas; their model is encouraging a feedback loop that I do not believe is healthy. In order to be considered "relevant" you must write about things other people think are "relevant" in a way that you can be "relevant" to the "relevant" ... and get the requisite link.

This reminds me of how academics in elite institutions pump up the citation index counts of their friends in elite institutions (only). Peer review is a fine institution, and I do believe in it in academia, but the difference is that peer review in academia -- at least at the journals I hold in high regard -- are double-blind. The Memeorandum model would work if your meme-ing bloggers had to look at twenty non meme-ing posts a day. They won't because the incentives are in the other direction: Give links to get links.

I get a number of emails from people saying to look at this or that post and write about it. Their model is encouraging that kind of email. I write about what strikes me as news of the day, from a viewpoint I think is different, and I don't bother people often about what I wrote today. I may send Instapundit two emails a year and maybe once a month to other NARNians about specific pieces.

So goodbye, Memeorandum. I ain't singing your tune any more.