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April 15 2004

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Filtered tech news and the occasional interview.


Back in 1859 Charles Darwin proposed a theory, making the case for "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest". Little did he know that some 145-years later, something would come along and throw a spanner in the works. You see, Darwin's theory is only partially correct in the modern world -- it doesn't seem to work for technology related things.

Fast-forward a little to 1999. At this time, the web had only penetrated a small minority of people. Most of the web sites were either corporate shop-fronts or niche hobby sites maintained by Vi wielding Californians, but, unbeknownst to myself, things were about to change as 1999 was the year Blogger launched and with it came the catalyst needed ("Push-button publishing") for a whole new genre of web sites referred to as weblogs -- a contraction of web log, as in "the captain's log" only the first generation version (browser support for audio CSS has greatly improved in the future so nameless "Star Trek" captains can read their cat postings out to the whole ship without hitting browser hiccups).

As with anything, the quality of these weblogs ranged from a great, to something the US Army might have used to torture terrorism suspects in Guantanamo.

New weblogs were popping up each hour but, much, much, less weblogs were disappearing and being replaced by domain squatters. This caused the total webloging population to mushroom into around 2,048,691 unique weblogs today (according to Technorati, forgive me if it's out of date already).

Now, back to Darwin. He said -- in layman's terms -- if it ain't fit; it won't survive long, but still crap weblogs live on... and on... and on. Leading me to the only conclusion that is possible for me to reach: Darwin was wrong. This means we must take evolution into our own hands and start changing the weblogging environment faster than the speed with which crap webloggers can evolve to combat the changes. This will of course encourage their extinction.

One possible solution would be for Blogger and LiveJournal to swap URLs. I'd imagine the confusion would wipe out at least half of the crap weblogger population.

Another solution would be for sites like Kinja (a weblog-of-weblogs) to take off. If weblogs contained in the Kinja system are deemed to be of a fair quality they are added to one of the editor 'digests' (just like a playlist -- of weblogs) thus promoting the good weblogs whilst shying away from the weblogs which left a little to be desired.

Will this "positive selection theory" rectify Darwin's theory here in the weblog world? I'd like to think so.

Update: Vlad has pointed out, via email (thanks!), a factual error from the opening paragraph. It was in fact Herbert Spencer, a professional writer, who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" (although he used it in a social sense), not Darwin as I'd previously thought.

Elsewhere: flickr, technorati, kinja digest, (subscribe) | ronan at zlog dhat co dhat uk.
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