Thursday, August 30, 2012

Broken Windows

There is a theory of law enforcement called "Broken Windows." The general analogy is that if you allow for things like broken windows, and other small cosmetic blemishes in a neighborhood, people will begin to feel that residents don't care, and soon more serious items will start appearing. This causes a viscous downward spiral which eventually results in a blighted neighborhood. In law enforcement, this is applied to a rigorous police response to petty crimes, so that criminals don't become comfortable with small acts, and start moving up to larger ones.

I wonder if the same thing applies to web-pages. Occasionally, I come across a page with a comments section where it is clear that there is little if any policing of comments for spam and other forms of random advertising. The immediate impression that I get is that no-one is looking after the page, and it's not worth commenting there myself, since it's unlikely to be read.

I would be interested to know if this is a widespread phenomenon, or something that only the more fastidious among us notice.

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