More evidence the Economist reads Slashdot...

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 00:04:56 -0700

[From an Economist piece this week on "do-it-yourself literary
criticism": the Story of Ping resurfaces, and Amazon damn well better
not pull that review now :-]

As far as Amazon is concerned, the fact that so many people are
prepared to invest so much time reading and writing reviews is simply
good for business. Lizzie Allen of Amazon says the reader reviews are
supposed to be "a forum to talk about a book" rather than a chat
room. A particularly close eye is kept on bestselling books, she
says, to ensure that all reviews play by the rules.

This means that the best place to post a silly review is on a page
devoted to a less well-known book. "The Story about Ping", a classic
children's work that tells the story of a duck called Ping, has been
the inspiration for much geek humour, because "ping" also happens to
be the name of a software utility used to measure the degree of
congestion on the Internet. One lengthy review constructs an
elaborate analogy between the book's plot and the architecture of the
Internet, and concludes that the book provides a "good high-level
overview" of basic networking concepts.