Saturday, August 28, 2010

An economist does not free ride but everyone else does

I occasionally review books for Choice Magazine, a publication of the American Library Association. About six weeks ago I sent my contact person this e-mail after submitting a review via their website:
I just submitted a review via your website at I guess no one has ever mentioned that when you get to the end of the process, there is a link at the bottom that says "Choice Home Page." Clicking that link gets you to a error page that says "Sorry, Page Not Found."

It is rather amazing that this bad link is still there, but maybe it is there because no one has ever bothered to report it.
I got back this response:
Thanks very much for notifying us about this broken link. You are the first to report it! The CHOICE home page was redesigned about a year ago and the URL changed, and apparently we missed updating this link.
I'll report it to our tech people.

Research says that it is economists who free-ride, but in this case for a year no one took the time to report this little glitch even though hundreds of people from almost every academic discipline must have encountered it. The cost of the error to any one individual was minimal, but the overall benefit of fixing the error was certainly greater than the individual cost of reporting it. It was finally fixed when an economist took the time to do what was good for the group and report the problem.

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