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Jimmy Wales: Don't Design Communities Around Worst Possible Behavior  (View post)

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

Friday, June 8, 2007
13 years ago3,687 views

interesting. thanks also for the link to this great site.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Early stage indeed – server hardware just arrived:

sethf.com/infothought/blog/arc ...

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Skepticism on the story Jimmy Wales tells about steak knives:

secondverse.wordpress.com/2006 ...

"The problem is… uh, guys, have you been to a steak house recently?

Do yourselves a favor. Go to Google Image search and type in “restaurant supply steak knives”. Two out of three of the top results have rounded tips on the blade. I can tell you, that’s pretty much standard issue at steak houses these days. They give you an oversized knife with a weird balance, a completely serrated edge and a rounded “point”. That’s gotta be the most harmless utensil every devised by a man who wanted to carve a chunk of animal and put it in his mouth. All in the name of reducing the “risk” of giving diners edged weaponry in easy reach after a few cocktails.

The point is, even steak house owners are afraid of their diners. [For good reason, mind you – red wine and beef drives some people over the edge] The point I want to make is that designing community online isn’t like other things. Wikipedia is marvelous. Love it to death, but I know what that community is good for. I will NEVER trust it on any issue I know is contentious. Try looking up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict some time. You’ll understand what I mean."

Hong Xiaowan [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I am interesting in his search engine.

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

siggibecker.de/blog/interview- ...

t xensen [PersonRank 4]

13 years ago #

If they will not assume the worst then they will remove nofollow soon?

rej [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

Seth, the point is that restaurants don't design around the worst possible scenario – that people will come to the restaurant to take advantage of the knives to commit violence. They design around the central experience of eating food in an appropriate setting, then take reasonable precautions to guard against possible dangers. They don't seat diners in cages, though that would be safer than even the rounded steak knives.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Ah, but they do design around worse-case scenarios, just not taking the most extreme measures against it. But they keep that possibility in mind in their design, and take measures to mitigate potential problems. The knives are deliberately made less efficient than possible, because of potential misuse.

Note that in restaurants which have sharp knives, you generally can't just walk in off the street and grab them, without going through some sort of initial appearance "sanity check" by an employee.

I thought of doing a parody of Wales in the opposite direction:

"In the Wikipedia Way, we put sharp knives around all over the place, but also put out first-aid kits so that if someone gets stabbed, they can use those kits to FIX IT THEMSELF! Plus if anyone talks about liability for our policy of "The restaurant where we give everyone the sharpest knife in the drawer", we then have our high-influence friends say to the media that everyone just has to accept an occasional stabbing as the price of freedom, otherwise THE ECONOMY WOULD BE IN DANGER! Besides, people should know that they have to take some responsibility for their own safety, and not expect us to limit ourselves for their gripes".

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Over time you learn from experience, but I think steak house chains originally weren't designed for worst-case scenarios. Apparently if bar fights happen often enough they later adjust their "knife design" – maybe the appropriate Wikipedia analogy is that some articles which are known to cause "bar fights" are blocked for unregistered or newly registered users.

Some of the design considerations of US chains may have more to do with the laws of liabilities and previous court cases; for instance, when I enter a Starbucks here in Germany the hot coffee cup will read something along the lines of "may contain hot beverage" (duh!). Now, *if* this would be a real danger, then they would have to actually make sure I read this, but as most people don't read this stuff, it seems more like a cover-your-ass liability defense, a technicality that will help defend if a customer tries to sue the chain for spilling hot coffee over their face.

Now I'm not sure about those steak house knifes, but I assume they don't do a full body check for everyone who enters, so you're actually able to smuggle your killer knife into the restaurant, the difference perhaps being that it's it's easier in US law (?) for the restaurant owner to defend themselves when someone gets stabbed with *that* knife...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp – Your coffee warning was because of a court case in the US back in the early 90's. A 79 year old woman spilled a McDonald's cup of coffee on her lap accidentally. She ended up suing McDonalds for serving coffee that was too hot and the jury awarded her $2.9 million dollars. That was later reduced but the after effects are still going on today with dumb disclosures that your coffee that you bought is hot.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald ...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

<<I am interesting in his search engine.>> me too

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> She ended up suing McDonalds for serving coffee
> that was too hot and the jury awarded her $2.9 million
> dollars.

The land of opportunity... including the opportunity to sue a company for ridiculously high amounts! :)

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