Wednesday, June 09, 2010

TechCrunch lets readers decide

“We’re going to let you decide — do we press charges or just let this go? The poll is at the bottom of the post. Whatever you decide, we’ll do,” wrote founder Michael Arrington in a post. 

Web 2.0 may well up a powerful tool if those who have the right to prosecute  open up the discussion online. TechCrunch is a pretty solid site with a good reputation and so for it to deal with the hacker who hacked its site within its own technological sphere highlights a number of changes in how we can deal with destructive people. There are more of us than there are of them and so the Web 2.0 connections mean we can rally our support. The site is also following the policy it has always had - it knows it has readers and it involves itself with its audience. TechCrunch has always been very aware of its following and it has built a genuine relationship with them. When the site is compromised, then so are its readers. Involving the readers in the outcome of the hacking is a way of still telling its readers that it values them. It is a better way than saying, oh, we're sorry you were all sent to a rude site and our site was messed up. It gives reasonable people a chance to address this and get their own feelings out. It's a twist on the name and shame policies which have come into being to try and curb destructive behaviour. Peer pressure and consultation. Web 2.0 makes that possible and a lot of companies could learn from this approach. What impact it would have in deterring would be hackers is yet to be seen and studied. Putting things right within your own community is a sound approach. I should like to think it will work.

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