You may be wondering what that strange “Blank post” was all about. The science blogging crew has been having a discussion about the “Most active” box you can find in the right sidebar, and RPM challenged me that I could put up an empty post titled “Blank post” and it would get 10-20 comments. I proved him wrong—it got over 30 comments in less than an hour and a half. That’s just wicked, people.
It also made the #1 most active post on scienceblogs. Man, my job just got a lot easier…who needs to write anything?
I think my case is made. Using traffic activity to determine what links you’ll put up is a perfect example of a positive feedback loop, and it’s also why ranking systems like Technorati that base your position in the hierarchy on how many links are made to you or how much traffic you get contribute to the perpetuation of that same hierarchy. It stabilizes rankings and can mean that the best are hindered from rising to the top, and cushions slackers so they can coast. Despite the fact that I’m benefiting from this, I don’t like it; here I am with my socialist leanings, wearing a top hat and monocle and reaping my ill-gotten harvest with no effort.
So I’ll throw it out to you. What information would be most useful to you in that box, that would also be easy to implement, and that would subvert the dominant paradigm by distributing links more liberally?
P.S. This blank post idea is interesting, but no, I hadn’t heard of it until it was brought up in the blank post thread.