David blogs some problems he sees with social software--orkut specifically--and binary definitions of friendship and relationship boundaries. But I think he's missing something. I think the literal interpretation is in our fingers, not in the software.
In his comments, I say this:
David, You missed something important, I think. Orkut is not asking you to choose whether Phil is your friend or not. Orkut is allowing you to ask Phil if he wants to add you as his friend.
I blogged at 4 this morning about what happened to Susan Kitchens -- we connected in a special and odd way (and odd for me at this point in the blogging game means odd) -- simply because neither one of us read the "add as friend" button as anything other than that: add as friend.
That could mean Phil's my friend; OR, Hey, Phil, I haven't seen you in ten years!; OR damn, I wish Phil were my friend; or, Phil, wanna be my new friend; or Phil, check out what communities I'm in; or Phil, you know David too?; Or Phil, wanna get laid?
It depends on the clicker and the clickee.
The missing piece is a comment field you could add a little message in when you "add as friend" to explain why. I for one am not going to bother sending pre-add-as-friend emails. Yick. Either be my friend or don't--but go read my profile and my blog and I bet you'll see why I clicked you.
As for the rating stuff, it'll change. Look at the login page. They assumed 20-somethings would jump on this thing by the truckload and run off into the peppy, skinny, way cool, california-blonde sunset.
What they got was US.