Pegging: What we do when we’re evaluating content

Last year, in part 7 of the New Gatekeepers series, I introduced the term “peg” as a shorthand for an aggregatable declaration— as I had no other way to contract that term. Suppose you make a declaration (a vote, endorsement) in such a way that it can be aggregated with others, or better yet, statistically integrated. This data becomes very meaningful. It's constructive. Think Zagat's restaurant guide, and you can peg.

In the last year, a number of web services have gained in popularity which allow people to rate Internet links. You can digg articles using Digg, or you can use you can Reddit — or a few new similar services. The term “memediggers” has been pressed into service, but that doesn't lend itself to a verb root.

So we ought to recognize the verb action of what we're doing. I recognized how most popular verbs in social media these days end in g. Cleverly, Digg fits this pattern, and they're well on their way to becoming the generic verb. Still, I expect that web users might consider a non-vendor-aligned word. I thought of the simple "rate" as well, but I wanted to just open up the phrase to any kind of evaluation such as endorsements and votes.

And once you recognize it as a verb, you can simply build it into your website (such as I've done with ViewPoints), and make it a regular community process. Consider a source article: to blog it is to write a blurb about it in a blog post; to tag it is to assign it a taxonomy keyword for bookmarking purposes; to peg it is to assign some a value which could be aggregated. As I wrote last year, “In theory, it is much easier for the average person to register a simple declaration than to churn out a short blurb to make a blog post.” Peg actually conotates classifying as well, so it seems acceptable to me that tagging and pegging will refer to very similar actions.

Again, referring back to the New Gatekeepers series, once we see pegging as a verb/process, we will recgonize how crucial it is to a distributed information system. There are enough items blogged and tagged as it is, but there has been far less use of pegging to date. Before I heard of Digg, I came up with a general structure called the Hearsay Network, a system of evaluating content, based on aggregatable declarations. My other thought with the peg was that it should be so defined that a person may well change a peg after they first set it.

The name peg also fits on the Frappr service, though Frappr calls them markers. I had thought of using “mark,” but as it lacked a trailing 'g' I soured on it. Also, it's a man's name, and there's enough of those in technology terms. Peg is a woman's name– and that of my grandmother, Ethel “Peggy” Garfunkel. She had an opinion on most things, and was sharp enough with numbers to be a bookkeeper and an excellent bridge player.

My grandmother died earlier today at age 98, a year and two weeks after my grandfather Milton Garfunkel died at age 101. I hope this can help serve her memory.