TripAdvisor: avalanche of ignorance?



Posted by Ed 33 days ago
  • When it comes to user-contributed review sites, the time-tested theory of collective intelligence fails the grade
  • Just one comment can cause a cascade effect that veers away from the reality, and the fault lies not with technology but humanity
It is fashionable now to think that if you take a large number of opinions on a topic and average them out, the result will better reflect the truth than any single opinion. This idea is often referred to as the wisdom of crowds, and it is particularly popular with supporters of websites that are driven by customer reviews.

The idea of the wisdom of crowds was popularised by New Yorker finance writer James Surowiecki in his 2004 book of the same name, but it was conceived a century earlier, by gentleman-scientist and polymath Francis Galton.

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