October 31, 2003
Plexiglass Slab Over the Tarpit of Hell

For my many sins, I attracted a link from Pejman Yousefzadeh, and the trolls came flooding in. I was instantly reminded of Leonard Richardson's: ...'Tar Pit From Hell' theory of discussion boards which I expounded to my co-workers many months ago. It is basically the following: when you add a public discussion forum to your site you are placing your site on a big slab of plexiglass which floats around on the Tar Pit From Hell. As long as no one actually uses the discussion forum, you are safe. But the more people pile on to use the discussion forum, the deeper your site sinks into the Tar Pit From Hell. There are various measures you can take to slow your descent into the Tar Pit From Hell, but none of them deal with the fundamental problem, which is the fact that your site is sinking into a damned tar pit. I believe I've beaten back the trolls and restored some rationality and civility... pseudo-rationality and an absence of complete vulgarity... to the comments... to most of the comments. But it took time I do not have. I would pay money to Pejman Yousefzadeh if he will never to link...

Posted by DeLong at 12:00 PM

October 23, 2003
Subvert the Dominant Internet Link Hierarchy! II

In order to guard against the danger that positive-feedback processes will lead web footprint to be determined not by quality but by celebrity, it is once again time to subvert the dominant internet link hierarchy, we continue to link to good but lesser-known weblogs. I therefore recommend to your attention: Cancer Blog India Economy Watch Cogito, Ergo Sumana...

Posted by DeLong at 05:58 PM

October 19, 2003
Subvert the Dominant Internet Link Hierarchy!

In order to guard against the danger that positive-feedback processes will lead web footprint to be determined not by quality but by celebrity, it is once again time to subvert the dominant internet link hierarchy. I therefore recommend to your attention: The Decembrist. Not Geniuses. The Center for American Progress. Discourse.net (Yes, you will be intimidated by the first post which talks about Uniform Commercial Code cartoons, but it will be good for you). And finally: Amygdala....

Posted by DeLong at 09:38 PM

May 29, 2003
Weak Ties

Lots of people are recommending Mark Granovetter (1973), "The Strength of Weak Ties," American Journal of Sociology 78:6 (May), pp. 1360-80. It is a very nice sociology article indeed... undefined...

Posted by DeLong at 10:02 AM

April 30, 2003
*Sob* Link to me!

*Sob* Link to me! I'm teetering at number 100 on Technorati's list of the top 100 influential weblogs! The slightest negative breath, and I fall off the list completely! So link to me! Link to me! Link to me! (Or persuade Sifry to expand his list to 120.)...

Posted by DeLong at 03:33 PM

April 29, 2003
Social Software

The Internet Topic Exchange and Ridiculously Easy Group Forming....

Posted by DeLong at 01:08 PM

February 11, 2003
On Machiavelli's "Letter to Vettori," or, The Value of the History of Economic Thought

A surprisingly-large number of people have recently asked me why I am interested in the history of economic thought. They make various points. First, we don't learn physics from Galileo's Discourse on Two New Sciences. There are other, better, more complete, more accurate ways of presenting the material. In any real body of knowledge, the more up-to-date has to be preferred to the less because we know more than they did. Second, there are the dangers of promoting dead and dry texts to the status of unquestionable authorities. Karl Marx saw misery in industrial England in the 1840s, jumped to the conclusion that market economies could never deliver persistent, sustained, significant improvements in real wages to the working class, jumped to the conclusion that markets had no place in any truly human mode of social organization, and--because his words became Holy Writ, the sacred gospel that was never to be questioned of a Millennarian World Religion--more than a billion people were doomed to even deeper poverty for more than a generation. Third, there is the danger that one will read texts one has placed high on a pedestal and discover in them a secret message, a crucial form of knowledge...

Posted by DeLong at 03:08 PM