Deliberate Inefficiencies

Danah Boyd has written an awesome post about how inefficiency and unreliability can actually be beneficial in certain social situations. Think about all of the interesting interactions that happen while people are waiting for drinks at a crowded bar.

She also asked if anyone could think of any examples of deliberate inefficiencies built into social websites. After racking my brain for a few minutes I realized that we had actually done this on Yahoo! Answers.

When you ask a question, you have to wait a few hours before selecting a best answer. This forced waiting period pisses a lot of people off, but it’s a key piece of what makes the site work well. By forcing the asker to wait, enough time is allowed for more, and potentially better, answers to roll in. In the long run, this forced inefficiency benefits the community.

I’m really curious to see what other examples her readers come up with.

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