I was very heartened to hear from Joshua that he is committing himself full-time now to del.icio.us (quitting his job, taking on some outside investment and ensuring the continued independence of the service). That's a big step to take. He wrote:
After seeing my little project go from a small hobby to a large one and then consume all my waking hours, I've decided to quit my job and work on del.icio.us full time. … I am excited to finally be able to devote all of my energy to working on and improving this site, and I'll also be able to acquire some much-needed infrastructure. … I think what sets del.icio.us apart is the passion of the community that has organized around it, and I hope I can continue to rely on your ideas, help, and goodwill. Together we have made the site the success it is today.
I set out my feelings about Steve Mallett's clone of del.icio.us, del.irio.us, here, in the del.icio.us discussion group. There are a number of issues that Steve Mallett's initiative and approach raise (many more than are covered in my contribution to the debate), but the notion of civility or propriety seems to me to be important and I was pleased that Stephen O'Grady concurred with this (as I understand him) over at tecosystems.
We are also having to come to terms with the emotional attachment people form to their social software tools. I don't think I did make the point any better than Clay Shirky did, nearly a year ago now (and in another context), but Stephen's gloss on my comment goes to the heart of this aspect of the del.icio.us/del.irio.us matter:
It's interesting to me that the code behind social-software can come to be as beloved as the community that it supports; as David Smith notes, Shirky has written of this before, but Smith says it best I think:
It's hardly surprising that some of us who have come to use del.icio.us a great deal might feel just a little affronted, on Joshua's behalf more than anything else, at such a naked act of appropriation.
Net net, if you were think(ing) that community members don't care too much about the bits, think again. What's more, potential users or partners of del.irio.us may have to contend with an irritated (and numerically larger) population of del.icio.us users in the future.
I wonder if there's any other steps we can take to raise the standards of the weblog community so that we can expect more civil behavior. It's clearly an issue that can only be solved by cultural change, but I find surprisingly few people who even see this as a problem, let alone any who want to see change.
The problem extends to embrace more than weblogging, of course: in this case, we have been forced to ask, 'What are the acceptable limits to cloning?'.
In the meantime, all strength to Joshua. I think he's right to talk about 'the passion of the community that has organized around' del.icio.us — the warm response he's been receiving to his news will have left him in no doubt of this. Ride the wave!