We don't need no stinking "Authority", do we?

Phil Edwards generative post on Technorati's "Filter by authority" got me thinking. In all the latest conversation about rankings (Technorati's and others) what happened to all the hoopla about the "long tail". Isn't that where much of the good stuff is found in blogoville? But now we're spending time counting links, watching statistics, and lining up in size places. I feel like I always do in a large group setting; usually in one of three situations. (1) I'm by myself looking at a large number of small groups, and feeling very much an outsider. (2) I'm in a small group and feeling a part of something (an insider). (3) I'm in a small group and looking out and wondering at what's happening in other small groups (ambivalent about what's in and out).

Why is it that almost every new social collective ends up working out issues around authority and establishing a pecking order? I'm convinced that there may be wisdom in a crowd, but I've been in crowds that started acting like mobs. There is something important about authority and we need to look at it. Maybe it is an ingrained habit, a result of our Indo-European history. Maybe there's something important going on that we need to work out in order to change how our groups behave.

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