Danny Sullivan has an interesting post in Searchengineland about the virtual rumblings over at Wikipedia about removing Matt Cutts because he’s not notable. Say what?
You know, community is a wonderful thing, but there are community dynamics at play, no matter whether the community is based in the virtual world or the real one. There tend to be what I would call conscientious blockheads, strongly opinionated people with a lot of time on their hands that tend to have an undue influence on most forums and wiki’s, or, in traditional terms, volunteer organizations. It’s a bit of a love hate relationship, because they are, after all, volunteers and often are the sole reason that the organizations and volunteer initiatives can continue to survive. But they tend to bend the collective view to their own strongly held personal perspective. And often, they exert their own need for control and recognition in this relative vacuum. Think PTA’s, think the executive of service organizations, think strata councils, think churches. I’ll bet you’ve all already thought of a person just like I’m describing, right?
Well, this type of person, armed with an Internet connection, has now found a new home, and this is true wherever online communities are gathering. Wikipedia would be a case in point. I think any rational person who has a modicom of expertise in the search space would know that Matt Cutts is probably one of the 10 most notable people in search, for a number of reasons that Danny Sullivan outlines (and I think Danny is shortchanging his own notability, but that’s another post).
The beauty of online communities are that there is a certain degree of transparency. We can all participate, if we choose. And us voicing our (hopefully) informed opinion is enough to hold the conscientious blockheads in check. Danny is doing exactly what we should all do, voicing his opinion and filling the vacuum.