Four short links: 9 October 2009

Negative Karma, Wal-Mart TQI, Idiot Airlines, and Native iPhone Apps in Lua

  1. Don’t Display Negative Karma — A fascinating insight for those building social software, whether for collective intelligence or otherwise: There can be no negative public karma-at least for establishing the trustworthiness of active users. A bad enough public score will simply lead to that user’s abandoning the account and starting a new one, a process we call karma bankruptcy. This setup defeats the primary goal of karma-to publicly identify bad actors. Assuming that a karma starts at zero for a brand-new user that an application has no information about, it can never go below zero, since karma bankruptcy resets it. Just look at the record of eBay sellers with more than three red stars-you’ll see that most haven’t sold anything in months or years, either because the sellers quit or they’re now doing business under different account names. (I love finding articles like this, thinking “they should write a book for us!” and then realizing “oh, they already are!”) (via Hacker News)
  2. Information Wants to be Free, Even At Wal-Mart (Pete Warden) — an interesting piece on the value of opening up data, sharing information in negotiations so the best outcome can be reached. I’d argue that this trust argument is usually a cop-out, hiding worries about turf and control. In most cases it’s clear that it’s not in the other party’s best interest to screw you over, and if it is, why are you dealing with them at all? The worst cases I saw were between departments within the same company, often we shared more information with competitors than the guys down the hall. The other reason I see people not sharing is shame: many companies (and individuals) work hard to present a facade of competence and quality that facts belie.
  3. The Forest, The Trees, and the Bag FeesThe bean counters can’t track the revenue dilution of all these new fees. They don’t want to. We miss the forest for the goddamed trees all the time. And the CEO acts as if fees are found cash. Meanwhile, no one asks why our overall revenue is plunging and we’re losing money quarter after quarter. Everyone acts as if one thing has nothing to do with the other. A reminder to watch the important numbers, e.g. cash in bank, profit, customer satisfaction. (via Bryan O’Sullivan)
  4. Native iPhone Apps Written in Lua — open source port of Lua with Cocoa bindings for the iPhone. This is a tutorial showing you how to install and get past Hello, World. Apple have already approved one app written using it.
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