Monday, November 07, 2011

“I don't buy barbed wire, I just dig wells”

I am on the verge of packing up my bookmarks and taking them to Pinboard. I have a really heavy heart about this. My love for delicious has been expressed in a lot of blog posts over the years. It was the frontend of a service I have been quietly nurturing with some other volunteers for several years to make Stoke-on-Trent's websphere more comprehensible, to make a visual cloud of Stoke links. It felt like it was just on the verge of being very useful, then Avos switched it off. The reason I'm on the verge of leaving is not because they've discontinued the tag cloud. The people of the internet will fix this in time. It's more a deap-seated irritation at the business-model that drives this kind of decision. The decision to take out the tagcloud is inexplicable, but it has been replaced by some development that is trying to make the service more like a channel, a platform that you stay on. A walled garden. They haven't switched off RSS, the birds that power the free web, the channels that enable free sharing, but by killing the tag cloud they took out one of the features that made delicious so useful and powerful. It's hard to keep faith in owners that so fundamentally misunderstand the way their community were using the service. He giants of the internet did an amazing thing by showing how content, platforms and software want to be free. That people can build sustainable businesses around sharing and cooperating. What they need to remember is that users, too, want to be free.