Not sociology. Intertubular capitalism. The motivation for this post was Stephen Colbert's report that Facebook shares tanked after the IPO because people discovered that their moms (eyeroll) had bought shares. So the plan was to have a hepcat cool fac3book for kids only which would quiz users on youth culture every 5 minutes and kick users who answered wrong off. I tried this idea on my daugheter and a friend who said something to the effect that it was totally laimo daddyo.
But I will not give up on my scheme to make money by being snotty. I note that the original idea of the Winkelvoss twins was thefacebook.com which only allowed people with an @harvard.edu email address post their faces on the book. The original idea of facebook was to profit from exclusivity. Currently facebook has 900,000,000 members.
OK so every 5 minutes is like such a pain. But I have some other thoughts.
1) captcha is a pain and a half. So bad it is the topic of McSweeney's internet tendency (but not recently enough for me to find a decent link). How about instead of copying misshapen letters people are required to answer a trivia question to prove that they aren't bots. Yes "Watson" or rather "what computer wins at Jeopardy ?" but Watson is a computer not a program -- dedicated hardware with a powerful processor. Also trivia captcha screens out trolls (by which I mean people not like me). Wouldn't Paul Krugman want a captcha which required commenters to accurately answer a question such as "Which of the following countries did not satisfy the Growth and Stability Pact conditions: Spain, Germany, Ireland, Greece ?" Under which President did public sector employment increase at the highest rate: Clinton, Reagan, Obama ?" Some trolls would have the determination and self discipline to respond accurately, but most of the real nuisances would refuse on principle.
2) Kids these days probably would deny under torture that they read all the Harry Potter novels. But they did. They know about the Gryffendor password problems and how Ravensclaw house avoided them by requiring the answer to a riddle instead. A network where to log in, one has to answer a trivia question -- three tries then a 15 minute delay before one can try again, sure would keep me away.
3) The correct spelling chat room. This is based on "Dave Barry in Cyberspace" in which MsPotato sets up an AOL chat room "can actually spell". Look I wouldn't participate, but I bet that some people could relate to a chat programmed so 3 misspelled words lead to a one day suspension or something. I'd personally benefit from such a chat as some of them would go there and stop nagging me about my spelling. If grammar checking ever worked, this would be even better. Especially in languages other than English. A tiny fraction of Italians can handle Italian grammar to the satisfaction of prescriptive grammarians. They are very proud of this skill and might want to exclude the rest of humanity. Frankly, my view would be "Ciao e non lasciare la porta sbatter il suo culo sulla via d'uscita."