Compare the discussion about Bjorn Lomborg's controversial The Skeptical Environmentalist at these two sites: Amazon and All Consuming. Disclaimer: I have not yet read this book, and I haven't formed an opinion as to whether or not the widespread criticism it has provoked is justified. But the contrast between the two websites could not be more striking. The first pageful of Amazon reviews -- and many others -- cite the opinion of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, already widely reported in the news, that Lomborg is guilty of scientific dishonesty. Maybe yes, maybe no, but none of first several dozen Amazon reviews cites any other source on the matter.
The blog commentary gathered by All Consuming, in sharp contrast, led me to articles in The Economist and Reason, to the DCSD ruling itself, to the Scientific American package of critiques of the book, to Lomborg's own site, and much more.
In the end the Amazon page was useful to me because 1) it supplied the metadata that my requisition bookmarklet needed in order to ask my library to acquire this book, and 2) I might get impatient and just go ahead and buy it. But all of the reasons that make me want to read the book came from the blog discussions rounded up by All Consuming. Maybe when Erik gets back from vacation, his boss at Amazon ought to sit down with him and do some brainstorming.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/01/11.html#a570