I was pleased to see the announcement today from Authonomy that they will be changing the way their site works. I mentioned a while ago that the site, ostensibly designed to find good new books, was suffering from a sort of social networking blanket-bombing. The Authonomy team accept that this is the case:
In recent months, we’ll admit that the site has been suffering from a kind of ‘vote inflation’ where support was given (or traded) very freely and as a result the rank of all books has been somewhat cheapened. The site functionality supported this and, until now, we haven’t stopped it.
So they’re going to somehow change the system to make this gaming less possible. I’ll be interested to see how this works. I drifted away from Authonomy for a while because I found all the ‘I’ll back you if you’ll back me’ nonsense distracting, but I’ve been popping back in of late and am still finding some great things to read there. One part-novel that I particularly enjoyed in recent weeks was The Cambridge List by Henry Miller. It’s a revenge tale, narrating the story of a failed classics student from Cambridge whose mind is occupied by Greek gods after taking an experimental anti-depressant drug.
The site is well worth visiting for the chance to read things that are simply not available anywhere else. But it will be even better if they can fix the social-networking madness.