Q: Who's included?

Thursday, September 22, 2005 2:21AM ET
by Gabe Rivera     Permalink

Yep, I know, lots of questions are hanging about memeorandum. Much remains to be said.

I'll start with the most common question: how are sources selected for inclusion?

To answer that, I'll begin with my philosophy: I want writers to be selected by their peers. That is, I want the writers in each topic area to select which of their peers show up on the site. Not deliberately, but implicitly, by whom they link to and in what context they link.

The source-picking algorithm is based on this philosophy and works roughly as follows: I feed it a number of sites representative of the topic area I want coverage. It then scans text and follows links to discover a much larger corps of writers within that area.

The decisions for including sources are continually reevaluated, in such a way that new sources can be included in real time. Think about that for a second. As I wrote earlier, sometimes the author of the most insightful analysis piece at 2pm was a relative unknown at 1pm. Real-time inclusion is possible on memeorandum provided that author receives prompt enough recognition by peers.

If you're a publisher and want to be included, the best thing you can do is engage other writers in your topic area. Write things in response to what they write, or things that just interest them. And having done this, ask your peers for links. Provided you've written something of interest, there should be no dishonor in doing so!

Of course, this approach for including sources also liberates me from assuming much of the editorial responsibility. (Much but not all responsibility — many choices I make do shape what appears.) And I'm delighted to give away this responsibility. Now I still get requests to include sources. I don't mind reading these emails, but I have trouble replying to them all, enough that I'm leaving some unanswered. (Apologies!) So hopefully this post will help.


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