The Null Device

Lessons Learned In Scaling and Building Social Systems

Some interesting notes from a talk about the scalability of social software delivered at the Web 2.0 Expo last September by Joshua Schachter of del.icio.us:
There are 3 Kinds of scale: technological, social, and personal. We’re going to briefly go through the technical stuff... Common access pattern is to have a screen, make a modification, requery the data, and then resend the results. We’re building a lot of these systems to be synchronous which is a huge performance hit. What you need is a queue not a database for processing messages asynchronously. Decouple interactive performance from the rest of the system. Huge win for Delicious. Now that we’ve got technical stuff out of the way…
Don’t go too far and expose too much information. A long time ago you could see how many friends you had and how many followers you had and compare who it was that was following but not a friend. The system allowed me to get angry at two people. People got freaked out by people ‘follow’ing them on delicious.
Wanted delicious to be a harmonious system. That’s why there were no conversations. Didn’t want people to come in and have religious wars. You have to be willing to deal with abuse, spam, porn, etc. His last year this got really bad.
Pretty urls are important. It’s prime advertising space. People will copy paste and link.

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