Peer Production as Peer Policing

Today in class, Danny spoke about a topic that is very relevant in social new sites: peer production. Therefore, I thought I’d add a little bit of context pertaining to the situation! Social news sites are aggregates for stories that people can up or down vote depending on their personal tastes and preferences. Users post entries themselves, can they can post pretty much anything they want. This makes websites like Reddit and Digg platforms. For this reason, they are protected under free harbor laws, making them, as a website, ¬†completely free of liabilities from user posts and comments. However, I do not find this law necessary, as the users on these sites police themselves because of the nature of its construction. Users would ideally prefer to retain their reputation. This is where posts that fall upon the edges of the platform come into play. While they are legal and technically neither site will take them down, they are strongly discouraged. While I have never seen questionable posts on either site including nudity or sexually explicit material, it is possible. It could technically break the terms of use agreement, but users do not necessarily to agree to that before using the site.

Because there is no “boss” of Reddit or Digg, it is up to the users to decide what material they would like to see. And because each website forms a type of community, I do not think it would be possible for those type of posts to get enough upvotes to make it even remotely close to front page because that is not what users want to see. Users, as much as the creators of the website, want to maintain its image, as it is a reflection of them as users.

So while it is completely do-able, it rarely happens. When it does, it is far from the average user’s public eye.

 

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