While cleaning out my virtual closet I found…

12/12/2002

While doing a routine purge of my computer I stumbled upon three graphs made to illustrate the difference between an increased marginal ‘effort’ cost and an exponential one. This is a flashback to a now old argument about whether or not usable systems should scale badly in order to counteract large volume-abuses of a system.

If this graph shows the effort needed to accomplish a certain number of things on a normal website…

Then this one would show what would happen if the accomplishment of each ‘thing’ required extra effort – say if it required a small additional amount of financial cost…

The problem with that system would be that your ability to abuse through volume is directly proportional to how much money you have. The rich (effort or financial) get to flood the system however they want. But a system that self-consciously scales badly in terms of user effort would look more like:

I don’t really want to comment on it any further, but I thought it might illustrate the concept I was talking about a few weeks ago.