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Power law

The power law is a very important analytical tool, and though Shirkey's article on it is from 2003, Brad DeLong links to it today, for some reason.

One can see "the A list" (yes, Shirkey uses the term) as a statistical distribution that arises naturally from a "scale free" network architecture (PDF) like the Internet.

Does network architecture fall into the "technical" bucket? Or into the "political economy" bucket? Or, perhaps, first one, then the other? History aside, I'd argue that network architecture on the Internet is now a function of political economy, and as Versailles moves to eliminate "net neutrality," new forms of electronic communication will become necessary, whose architecture is not "scale free", and hence do not produce A lists. After all, the scale free architecture is extremely vulnerable to attack: One simply lops off the A-list tall poppies at the top of the power curve. As the Obama campaign of 2008 proved, through its assault on the comment sections at The Obama 527 Formerly Known As Daily Kos, for example.

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