Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Diffusing responsibility one person at a time.

Back in my college years I remember learning about something known as diffusion of responsibility. For those who are unfamiliar, this is when a task must be completed by a set of individuals but no specific person is given the task. When there are enough persons involved it is easy for each to believe that someone else will perform the needed actions and, thus, they do not have to act. Since everyone feels this way, however, nobody performs the actions and the task remains incomplete. This can have pretty gruesome results, as with Kitty Genovese, who was murdered within view of dozens of bystanders who each believed one of the others would call the police. At a larger scale, diffusion of responsibility can be regarded as similar to the classic "collective action problem" wherein it can be difficult to motivate individuals to contribute to providing a public good because they will derive the benefit of that good even if they do not contribute to producing it. So, for example, tax money pays for law enforcement but, so long as someone else pays their taxes, it makes economic sense for me to attempt to defraud the IRS. This is also sometimes known as the free rider problem. One might very reasonably argue that, when it comes to something like environmental protection, responsibility is about as diffuse as it can get.

An interesting consequence of the diffusion of responsibility phenomenon is that, all things being equal, we might expect posting on group blogs to be less frequent than posting on singleton-blogs. Essentially, since each blogger can assume that one of the others will post, none of them feel much responsibilty to write a post themselves. And, as it happens, I think this is a theory that has been borne out. While some group blogs are very successful, many others (possibly many more) have suffered a slow, lingering death. More to the point, many of the group bloggers I've spoken with have told a similar story: some of the group bloggers seem committed, but many only post occasionally if at all.

Now, by this point some of you might be wondering if I'm about to harrangue my co-bloggers. Total Drek is, after all, a group blog and, to be quite frank, I still end up writing most of the posts. I've wondered about this from time to time- even kicking around the notion that I should change the name to Total Largely Drek so as to be more welcoming to my colleagues. But no, I have no intention of criticizing my co-bloggers' performance. In some cases, they are only occasional posters here and, in others, they simply lack what it takes to post as much as I do. I of course mean "severe psychopathology," but that's not the point. No, today I am not critiquing my friends, who may be suffering from diffuse responsibility, but instead am adding to the problem. Hey, my mother always told me that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem and, as it happens, I am most assuredly not part of the solution.

So today I'd like to announce that after a lengthy blog summit held in the finest conference areas of Geneva, a new blogger is coming aboard here at Total Drek. Some of you may know him already as I have linked to his former blog on several occasions. For those of you who do not know him, allow me to mention that he is the only blogger I've ever seen who managed to make a rhetorical point by inviting Jesus to fellate him. Ladies and gentlemen I refer to the one, to the only, to the painfully lengthy, the Red-faced Warbler!

I'm sure you'll get to know him pretty well over the next few weeks/months/years but to give you a brief summary allow me to state the following items for the record:

(1) He has never, whatever people claim, participated in an orgy while wearing a pink wig.

(2) He's met interesting people in interesting places.

(3) He is NOT a hobbit.

(4) However, he DOES like breakfast.

(5) He DOES have a girlfriend...

(6) Who could totally kick your ass.

And so, sit back, and enjoy the blogging stylings of the Red-faced Warbler. Look for it to start up with a (hopefully regular) Sunday feature.

Yes! I said SUNDAY! The forbidden day here at Total Drek!



Blogger Jeff said...

Lawdamighty! For a guy who's averaged 3 posts a month since he began blogging this spring, this is gonna be a challenge to kick it up to 4 or 5. He might just have to shorten them (wouldn't that be a shame).

Go Warbler, go!

Saturday, October 07, 2006 9:34:00 PM  

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