nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Non-impostion of order also equals escalation of chaos

An update, if you want a list of which books have had their sales ranking removed and which haven't.

Link thanks to filkertom.

Having read that the sales rank removals started in February, and the customer service department defended it as policy, that Amazon has grown so fast that its software is cobbled together so messily that there's no way either an internal or external conspiracy could be responsible for this, and that it's not conceivable that Amazon's top management would do something so culturally implausible and self-destructive, I was about ready to blame Martians.

However, here's a plausible suggestion that it was actually Eris and Murphy:

The simple answer is Amazon's architecture. It's highly distributed, and there's no operations team. Each component (and over 200 go into a single page) is run by its development team, of four to five people. They are responsible for its features, its development - and for making sure it runs effectively. The result should be a company that can move quickly in response to outside events.

At least that's the theory.

I'm afraid the real world doesn't work like that. I've been a developer and I've managed developers and I can tell you that what really happens is something like this:

Someone comes up with a neat idea that they evangelise among the other developers, and it gets added to the platform. The developers become wedded to their idea, and they keep adding features. Something from the outside occurs that affects the data managed by the service, and they don't notice. After all, it's their design and it's perfect. The problem gets worse, and a few external symptoms are noted and passed on to the developers. They're too busy to pay much attention to them, and so they ignore them. Then suddenly, BANG, and everything breaks.

Oh, and it's a holiday weekend and there's no one there to actually handle the problem as the whole team's gone off on a skiing trip.

Now I can't guarantee that's what has happened with the deletion of GLBT content from the Amazon ratings system, but I suspect it's more likely than not.

Link thanks to redbird at cakmpls.

I think this theory implies that customer service was lying when they said the deletions were the result of a policy. It would seem that Amazon is almost incapable of having policies.

Still, this couldn't have happened without substantial background prejudice against LBGT people.

NonObligatorySF[1]: There's a rant in one of van Vogt's Isher books by an empress who explains that it only looks like she has absolute power. In fact, any order she gives gets interpreted until there's nothing left of it.

[1]From the good old days of rec.arts.sf.written, when people would add a little sf to non-sf posts.

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