Friday, October 12, 2007

Badge Communities on Orkut

It is really nice to see that an open and free environment in software development leads to a better software design and greater user satisfaction. I was having a conversation about it just yesterday and today I see a good example of this on the Orkut Blog.

Orkut, like all other social networking sites, has communities – forums dedicated to a particular topic which people can join and use to discuss stuff related to that particular topic. So I, for example, am a member of the communities on ‘Science Fiction’, ‘Neil Gaiman’ and ‘Star Trek’.

However, not everyone uses a community to discuss stuff and meet people (online). Many (in fact, most) people join communities just so that they show up on their profile pages and act as indicators of their interests and hobbies. This behavior is so common now that whenever someone visits a user profile on Orkut, they certainly check out the common communities among other things.

I was very glad to see that Orkut developers are very much aware of the fact. And they’ve even invented a term for such communities – ‘badge communities’. And they recognize that such badge communities, often characterized by lack of moderators, do not really need to allow emails to all members. Because members of such communities have not joined them to talk to other people. Thus Orkut has now disallowed emails to all on such unmoderated communities.


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