In an idle moment, I posted to a Slashdot article, asking how much Miguel de Icaza gets paid to like .NET. I'm mostly joking... but only mostly. Certainly, everyone I've ever talked to who has looked at Microsoft's design says it's pretty bad. No one credible has told me that it's solving any problems... so there's a certain amount of room for questioning what's gotten Miguel de Icaza so convinced that it's the solution; the only possible way to move forwards.
Now, on the one hand, that's trolling. On the other hand, it's a question with the potential for repercussions. How would you feel if you found out that, for instance, Miguel de Icaza had received some amount of money from Microsoft? Would that change your opinions? If so, why?
Kuro5hin and Slashdot are both vulnerable, within reason, to groupthink. A post that hits hot buttons can be voted out of sight very, very, quickly. My impression has been that K5 is less vulnerable to this; moderation is more likely to reflect quality of argumentation, and less likely to reflect opinions.
A friend of mine did some early research work on collaborative filtering. The idea is, you rate things (the most obvious application, so far, has been movie reviews), and then the system predicts which ones you will like, not just which ones are generally popular. One of his colleagues expressed concern that this could harm free inquiry. If you simply tend not to see opposing viewpoints, how do you learn?
I think this is a real problem. Even though I like to think I'm rational, I'm quite confident that I'm more likely to vote down a pro-MS troll than a pro-Linux troll. I may simply not perceive the one that agrees with me as "a troll".
How do you resolve this? Do you look for hidden or low-rated comments? Do you go out of your way not to mod down comments you disagree with? What checks and balances do you use, to keep your mind from calcifying?