cisler on 21 Aug 2000 14:52:34 -0000

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<nettime> Tragedy of the digital commons

Aug. 21 New York Times refers to a Xerox PARC study called "Free Riding on
Gnutella" where the authors claim that the actions of most users is to
take rather than to give (music selections) and that this imbalance makes
the system function worse than if the giving/taking were more symmetric. 

 "By sampling messages on the Gnutella network over a 24-hour period, we
established that 70% of Gnutella users share no files, and 90% of the
users answer no queries." 

The term 'tragedy of the digital commons' is used, and in the past some
have objected to speaking of a digital resource as a common good in the
same way that pasture land (to use the original example) would be. However
inexhaustible endless digital copies may be, the bandwidth and server
capacity to handle the traffic is not.  It's a major factor in slowing
down intranets and parts of the whole Internet (at least here in Silicon