Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Forum Devil You Know

When Prosper put up the new forums, they added a requirement that posts be pre-approved before they become visible. This had the (predictable) consequence of annoying the frequent posters who enjoy the banter of carrying on near real-time conversations on the forums. A number of these folks have negative opinions and went looking for an outlet. Enter the New York Times. Freakonomics author and upcoming Prosper Days keynote speaker Stephen Dubner has a blog on the NY Times website, and the disgruntled posters decided to visit when he posted on Prosper. The blog comments are indicative of their presence.

Prosper knew where it's unhappy users were (their forums) before changing the status quo. It wasn't sunshine and goodness for Prosper, but it wasn't hard to find them and they stayed where you could see them. With the new forums, the agitators have scattered, and bad public relations can be found in their wake as a reminder that the Streisand effect is real.

Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

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