Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Revolting Users

Analee Newitz is the moderator of the Social Networking Coups panel. She says there are three kinds of user revolts:
  • anarchist-style pranks
  • grassroots protests
  • op-ed / open letter from high-profile users
Also on the panel is Jessamyn West, Jeska Dzwigalski (aka Jeska Linden, as in Linden Labs, as in Second Life. Duh), and Gina Trapani.

Newitz did an experiment to see if her phony blog could be on the front page of Digg if she paid people to digg it. It worked. She used that as an example of an anarchist-type prank. An example of grassroots projects was the AACS key posted to Digg.

Next, Jeska talked about revolts on Second Life. A month after beta, Linden tried to tax individual people. Users on Second Life were upset by this and staged a revolt in the Americana region, where users threw crates of tea into the water.

Another revolt was in November 2006, a group of open source developers were working on something, and a user created the code to export things from Second Life out to the real world. Users were upset about the Copy Bot and protested it on Second Life. Some store owners actually shut down their stores for a day of silence in protest of Copy Bot.

Another protest was done by designers in Second Life who were upset with people trying to steal their designs, so they created advertisements protesting said acts. Linden called it the resident-created IP Rights Campaign, 2008.

West is with MetaFilter, and she actually posted her speech online. See it here.

Trapani spoke next. She's from Lifehacker, and talked about Toto's ads. Toto has a product that's like a toilet seat with a bidet... anyway, the ad included a photo of naked butts. Naked smiling butts. A lot of people took offense at this, apparently. Users wrote in protesting, saying that Lifehacker was getting blocked from their work computers and such. And so, since Lifehacker is supposed to be a blog about getting things done, and has nothing to do with sex, they decided to pull the ad on Lifehacker.

It's kind of cool to know that even though people worry about moderators of their social sites, users still have the power to do something about it. I'm glad they've gottn more clever than just a firmly-toned email.

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