Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Winner Takes It All

Power Laws, Discourse, and Democracy "Well, inevitable inequality is one way to characterize the effects of power laws in social networks. But is it the most useful way? Drawing on the same body of research on power laws in social networks, and using similar methods, Jakob Nielsen chose to emphasize instead that, as he put it in a piece published on AlertBox (03.06.16): Diversity is Power for Specialized Sites:"

"Winner-takes-all networks may follow Pareto's Law (the 80/20 rule) with regard to the cumulative distribution of links. But, according to Barabasi in Linked, the distinctive distribution hierarchy of scale free networks will have been broken. Instead, the network takes on what Barabasi describes as a "star topology," in which a single hub snarfs nearly all the links, dwarfing its competitors. "

"It's the the dynamics of emergent systems being formalized in open source. It's the fragile and turbulent architecture of democracy.

By contrast, winner-takes-all networks wipe out the middle ground connecting leaders to the network's other players. With this, winner-takes-all networks strip away the architecture that supports the productivity of local niches."

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