Joho the BlogGetting whipped into shape by the long tail - Joho the Blog

Getting whipped into shape by the long tail

“Category imperialism” is the title of a new posting by Julian Bond that raises essential questions.

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I’d point out that category imperialism results not just from decisions made by powerful sites about what categories/fields to track and which values to respect. It can also happen when folksonomies succeed in creating a power law distribution of a term: E.g., 95% of people at eBay who are selling laptops refer to them as “notebooks.” (Note: I made up that fact.) There’s some hope that computers can automatically translate local/personal taxonomies into the standardized terms, but Julian is pointing a truly tough issue: The long tail can be a powerful force for conformity.

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