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Online Reputation Is Hard To Do

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the to-say-nothing-of-trust dept.

The Internet 224

Symblized writes "A new article from InformationWeek argues that not only does the Web need ways to verify identity, it also needs better ways to measure reputation . The article uses Digg, Wikipedia, and eBay as examples and muses whether their models could be applied more widely. There's also a profile of Opinity, a company that tried to introduce a reputation system and didn't make it. Choice quote from a source in the article: 'The idea of a transferable, semantic reputation is identity nirvana.'"

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Trust is the currency (5, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374361)

"Trust is the currency of the participation age." -Jonathan Schwartz

This is the $64,000 question. Building a reputation/trust system is very difficult. Honestly, Slashdot is one of the better examples of this (Slashdot's moderation system does alter the flow of the discussion but it does get a downright reasonable signal-to-noise ratio vs other online communities).

I'm volunteering at Citizendium, which is another possible datapoint. We're assuming that real names and respecting verifiable expertise will allow us to benefit in some fashion from existing scholarly reputation systems, and to build a more cohesive community.

Eventually, I think it'll be feasible to layer reputation and credentials (for sites that care) on top of a system like OpenID. People will be able to choose what reputation/credentials to share with which site. Information that you want to follow you (e.g., "I have a BA in Math from UCLA" or "I have excellent karma on Slashdot") will follow you across sites.

But yeah, it's a very difficult problem. Figuring it out is a big, potentially very lucrative issue.

Slashdot reputation system working? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374399)

Maybe in your opinion, but not in the eyes of a lot of people. The only reputations tat matter ar ehte handfull that created the system. The rest is semi random.

Hey, kids! Test your Wikipedia street smarts! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374435)

Which of the three passages below is the authentic excerpt from Wikipedia?

  1. Conan Christopher O'Brien, 44, is the comedian and the host of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. He is Scottish, as were his parents, as well as his three brothers and two siblings. He has no relation to CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien.

    O'Brien, who is 43, is commonly thought by television audiences to be of diminutive stature, though some journalists and alternative biographers dispute this claim.

    As of 2007, O'Brien has been confirmed dead of tuberculosis. His hair color was red. He was 45.

  2. {This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.}

    [Image:KarlMarx.jpg]
    United States President Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States during the Revolutionary War, and a well-known Libertarian.[1] Though some historians see Objectivist tendencies in his greatness.[2][3] Many of his most generous qualities can be traced back to the philosophy of Ayn Rand.[4]

    Lincoln is now known to have suffered a mild form of Autism known as Asperger's Syndrome.[5][6][7]

    Assassinated at 54 by a vandal known as Jon Harvey Booth,[8] or some say by political crony Edwin Stanton, Lincoln would have been 187 years old today (as of 2005)[original research?] had he not been assassinated in the prime of his life at the age of 45 by unemployed actor Juliette Lewis Botch.[9]

  3. The Pokédex (Pokemon Zukan[?], lit. "Pokémon Encyclopedia") is an electronic device designed to catalogue and provide information regarding the various species of Pokémon featured in the Pokémon video game and anime series. The name Pokédex is a neologism including Pokémon (which itself is a portmanteau of pocket and monster) and index. The Japanese name is simply "Pokémon Encyclopedia" in Japanese.

    In the video games, whenever a Pokémon is first captured, its data will be added to a player's Pokédex. In the anime the Pokédex is a comprehensive electronic reference encyclopedia, usually referred to in order to deliver exposition. There are four differently numbered Pokédex modes to date: the Kanto Pokedex, introduced in Pokémon Red and Blue; the Johto Pokédex, introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver; the Hoenn Pokédex, introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and expanded upon in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen; and the Sinnoh Pokédex, introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

Re:Hey, kids! Test your Wikipedia street smarts! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374809)

Greetings.

All Irishmen are wifebeaters, but not all wifebeaters are Irishmen.

Take note.

Re:Hey, kids! Test your Wikipedia street smarts! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375047)

Huh? What does that have to do with anything? I thought we were talking about reputations. I'll get the ball rolling. For example, Tampax is a brand of tampon from Procter & Gamble. It was originally both the name of an independent company for over 50 years, based in Palmer, Massachusetts (with headquarters in New York) and the product itself. Renamed Tambrands, Inc. during the 1980s, P&G purchased it in the late 1990s. It was noted for decades as having the dominate share of the tampon market, challenged mostly by Playtex, J&J, Kimberly-Clark and briefly by P&G's failed product from the 1970s called "Rely". The "Rely" tampon was pulled from the market after being associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). During WWII Tampax produced large quantities of wound dressings for the military. It was noted for having a mostly, almost exclusively, female workforce for much of its history. Financially, while still independent, it was also noted for carrying no debt for most of its corporate lifetime and ranked ~#4 on the Fortune 500 list for return on equity. The original product was designed from the start as flushable and biodegradeable.

Re:Hey, kids! Test your Wikipedia street smarts! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375109)

You left out the part about how the company has had periods of high cash flow, followed by the absorbtion of highly liquid companies. But at least you mentioned that they only employed de womenses, cuz dey hate da menses.

Re:Hey, kids! Test your Wikipedia street smarts! (-1, Offtopic)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375653)

Lies! Everyone knows that Lincoln was assassinated by Sasquatch near a grassy knoll in a redwood forest. Also, Lincoln suffered from Asparagus's Syndrome, not Asperger's.

Re:Trust is the currency (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374485)

Reputation is key. It's like in that movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I don't know if this was shown in theatres but on the unrated dvd version there is a heavy focus on trust. For example when Wonka and Charlie and the others are in that elevator going through the factory they see a rom called "the Ompaa Lompaa fabric" or something like that and you see two Ompaa Lompaas in bed and one is smoking a cigarrette (like if they just had sex) and Wonka replies "no comments"

Another escene shows a transgender Ompaa Lompaa dressed as a woman in an office

Also at the end when Willy Wonka is offering Charlie his fabric he says "you can live with me in the factory,we will do everything together,we will make chocolate together,we will watch tv together,we will sleep togheter...we will shower together" and the rest of the family is like "huh??" LOL that part was pretty funny to me like a Michael Jackson parody.

And yeah then there is that naked Ompaa Lompaa taking a shower but you can see only his legs.

And what do you buy with that currency? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374649)

It seems that everyone trying to "solve" this "problem" doesn't know what they're trying to achieve.

So what if you can make a perfect pseudonym identification system? What does that achieve for you? What do you accomplish beyond that?

Does it really matter to anyone else if your Slashdot 'nym can be verified to match your 'nym's on a dozen other boards? Who really cares if you have excellent karma on Slashdot?

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (4, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374821)

it matters because if you have good rep on slashdot, chances are you're not a complete mumpty. On the other hand, if you have a dreadful karma on slashdot, you'll be saying the same old pants on other sites too.

It really ensures that if you post good stuff somewhere you can be trusted to post good stuff on other sites too. What that means to a particular site depends on that site, for something like ebay that can matter quite a lot, at least it would allow good posters to be recognised as such, and then I think sites would start to implement policies on posting that restrict non-recognised 'nyms until they gain a good reputation.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374941)

I'm not convinced that's worthwhile. If I like trolling on web forums, how does that imply I wouldn't be a trustworthy seller on eBay? How does a good online reputation in any way guarantee that a person is qualified to write about a certain topic in Wikipedia? I don't see the connection.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375351)

In this anonymous online world, this would be an attempt to establish character. So in the future, acting like an asshat for fun in formus would relfect on you elsewhere. Just like if you act like an asshat at the company picnic, it effects you back in the office and possibly gets back to your friends at home. And yes, I think if someone is a carebear in WoW then they are a more trustworthy eBay seller, and someone with intelligent /. posts is more likely to contribute intelligently to Wikipedia.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (4, Interesting)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375433)

Regardless of what kind of eBay seller you'd be, this system would let people shun you for being an asshat somewhere if you used an important identity to be an asshat with. This would relegate most asshattery to anonymous identities, which would mean that sites that want to eliminate asshattery would simply require that all participation come from an identity with a decent reputation. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375561)

Well that brings up the problem of new people trying to not be an asshat and gain a good reputation. If no forum will allow people without a good reputation to join how do you get one?

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375701)

There's a number of problems it brings up, like privacy issues. Like I said, it's not necessarily a good thing. In this case, though, the user can start building their reputation on sites that allow new users to participate until they "level up", eventually gaining access to other parts of the internet. Thus, web 2.0 will be unwittingly turned into some sort of dystopian MMORPG. Seriously though, that would work, because plenty of places, like /., would allow users to participate even if they don't have a reputation.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374961)

For one thing, it says you are probably not a spammer; if you have a very good karma on slashdot. (You didn't just run by slashdot to post a piece of junk)

For the reputation system to really be useful for filtering purposes, a method needs to exist for your reputation to become "sullied" if you do spam somewhere, or abuse your reputation; in that case, your "reputation of good karma" on the pseudonym@SITE would need to have the bad part attached to it, I.E. if you spammed on some other site, and used your "Slashdot karma" as a credential to establish a special account, then the record of your spammage should become tied to the special credentials you needed to use in order for someone to trust you.

And the bad part of your reputation would need to follow you if you create a new account on the site and link any of your old pseudonyms to this new account on the "reputation tracking" site.

I see in the early posts suggestions that people should be able to pick and choose what they want to share. This is no good, for the reputation information to really be useful -- the system can't just let you pick all the good things and hide all the negatives.

For information to really be useful for others to make decisions (about whether to trust a certain pseudonym for a certain action or certain transaction) it also needs to be impossible for you to start from scratch and create a new reputation and link it to only your pseudonyms that have a good rep.

I think the way this would work is you link a number of pseudonyms on other sites to your profile. If one of the pseudonyms later spams, that "bad reputation link" will follow you if you link one of your old pseudonyms to a new account.

A good reputation system also needs to be resilient against people maliciously/frivolously attaching bad marks to other people's reputation, for example: claiming person X is a spammer, who never actually spammed. I.E. it needs a method of verifying or authenticating any credentials and negatives/qualifiers on those credentials, that get recorded and presented. One possibility is to require corroboration, and to quickly expire negative reports that are not confirmed by a sufficiently trustworthy source.

To clarify that ... (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374987)

it matters because if you have good rep on slashdot, chances are you're not a complete mumpty.

So you're saying that it would help filter out a majority of the "complete mumpty".

That's a possibility. But it would be even easier to just use Slashdot's reputation/moderation system on your own site. That would solve the "complete mumpty" problem while also solving the problem of someone with excellent karma for his programming knowledge posting his conspiracy theories on your site.

And it automatically tunes itself to your audience.

It really ensures that if you post good stuff somewhere you can be trusted to post good stuff on other sites too.

Not really. Check back on the "creationism vs evolution" stories here.

What would be considered "good stuff" on one site (or even by one moderator) would be considered ignorant drivel on another site (or by a different moderator).

You achieve all the same benefits without the problems just by having your own reputation/moderation system.

Re:To clarify that ... (4, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375387)

What would be considered "good stuff" on one site (or even by one moderator) would be considered ignorant drivel on another site (or by a different moderator).

You achieve all the same benefits without the problems just by having your own reputation/moderation system.
I suspect that there will be a lot of correlation between sites, as people who act like asses in one place are more likely to do so elsewhere. On the other hand, I also think that what will actually emerge is that the sites that correlate cluster in groups: if you have a good rep on site A, you're more likely to have a good rep on site B and a bad rep on site C, and you probably won't frequent D at all. Given all that, someone with a good search engine and a lot of cleverness will be able to start mapping out what these virtual communities actually look like and other sociological/anthropological stuff like that.

But will sharing reputation systems help sites? I think so, eventually, but not for many years yet. Until the reputation clusters have been found, sharing is as likely to introduce needless pollution of reputation systems as it is to enable reputations to be built up quickly. (Could there be a single reputation cluster? Maybe, but I suspect not; people are too inclined to divide the world into "us" and "them" for it to work out.)

One thing that might come out of reputation research is that it might become possible to use the reputation clusters to predict, from someone's interests and interactions, which sorts of sites they'd like to visit. OK, that does sound backwards, but it should guide people to where they won't want to make a total fool of themselves on a regular basis (yes, even the griefing pranksters; after all, when amongst the fools the foolish are sages and the wise foolish.) It may also eventually be possible to join the reputation clusters up, but using negative links (so reputations on sites for followers of Xenu who believe in ID and the supremacy of feng shui of placement of feeding bowls for their chihuahua will negatively reinforce reputations here) but I doubt that will help any time soon. There's a revolution waiting to happen here, but since it really involves lots of people, it'll take time to brew.

On the other hand, it is sensible to start working out what technological steps are required to enable specific bipartite reputation sharing, as well as looking at how to build sane single-site reputation systems. For example, slashdot's is pretty good in that it isn't easy to totally game the system while being mostly self-regulating, but can it be bettered without input of data from outside sites? If it can't be greatly improved, how difficult will it be to export the system to other sites? (It's late: I'm sure you can think of other aspects, but I can't right now.)

Re:To clarify that ... (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375453)

But it would be even easier to just use Slashdot's reputation/moderation system on your own site

Is /. now offering a "moderated forums that don't suck" site-design package? We have all seen too many forums with no good way to have intelligent discussion or accommodate branching discussions. There is a certain amount of groupthink here but it is also the only place online where I have seen people admit to being wrong or actually change their viewpoint based on new information. It's hard to say who much of that is a good format and how much is good people.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (0, Troll)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375013)

it matters because if you have good rep on slashdot, chances are you're not a complete mumpty.

You obviously haven't been reading slashdot very long. Not only is it full of morons, but getting 'Excellent' karma is easy. All you have to do is make 40 something posts that aren't modded down. Less if they get modded up. Slashdot should not be an indicator of general repute.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375483)

it matters because if you have good rep on slashdot, chances are you're not a complete mumpty. On the other hand, if you have a dreadful karma on slashdot, you'll be saying the same old pants on other sites too.

Yea the old because it rained yesterday it will rain tomorrow defense.

This is stupid. Once a Republican alway a Republican, once a terrorist always a terrorist.

This takes into account that no one will or is able to change their actions.
So lets get back to the "Scarlet letter" on our forehead and just eliminate all this scientific mumbo jumbo that says that we are pigeon holed into a cubicle as he is one of them.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375769)


    Of course it'll rain tomorrow, we're in the middle of a hurricane! :)

    Someone else had it more right. It really doesn't matter. Post a bunch of somewhat intelligent (i.e., not troll) messages, and you'll get a good karma.

    But, if you're a Windows-loving, Linux-hating, Pro-War-Budget, No-Civil-Rights user, no matter how intelligent your posts are, you're going to have a very pathetically low karma. At least here. If you're posting on a Microsoft blog, you'd probably have an excellent karma. :)

    It's all the atmosphere. Kinda like being a black man at a KKK rally. Don't expect good things to come of it.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375869)

[Slashdot Warning]

Due to compression, your message has become:

it matters. you have a dreadful karma.

Yea the old defense.

stupid. Once a Republican always a terrorist.

This takes into account that no one will or is able to change their actions.

and...so what? (4, Interesting)

Wabbit Wabbit (828630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375673)

I've got mod points, but I think I'd rather participate.

it matters because if you have good rep on slashdot, chances are you're not a complete mumpty. On the other hand, if you have a dreadful karma on slashdot, you'll be saying the same old pants on other sites too.

And so what? Is all of this really so important? I find it fascinating that so many people on so many sites care more about their "reputations" than what they post.

It really ensures that if you post good stuff somewhere you can be trusted to post good stuff on other sites too.

Does it? Sometimes I don't WANT my "good" reputation to follow me. I like acting like a goon on something awful and like a lolcat-loving ding-dong on fark and like a...well...never-you-mind-like-what on consumptionjunction and 4chan.

When (and where) I want to be serious, I am. Others see it quickly enough too. It doesn't take long at each site I join for people to realize that I'm a "good poster". Honestly, it isn't complicated. Stay on topic, write well, be helpful, and the rest follows. Such has been my pattern over the years at sitepoint, namepros, webhostingtalk, and even here.

\Perhaps it's because I'm old
\\And still use slashies
\\\(reversed because slashdot doesn't like 'em forward for some reason)

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374827)

Does it really matter to anyone else if your Slashdot 'nym can be verified to match your 'nym's on a dozen other boards? Who really cares if you have excellent karma on Slashdot?

It might. I think the best possible solution would be to let the destination site look at whatever pieces of reputation you choose to provide, and then weight them however it wants to.

E.g., let's say I set up a blog. I know most traffic is driven to it by people clicking on my site's URL in my Slashdot comments; therefore, it might not be a terrible metric to utilize Slashdot-karma in approving comments on my blog. There's no guarantee that someone with Excellent /. karma isn't a spammer, but I suspect it's a better chance than "random person on the Internet" being a spammer.

That said, there's no objective reason why Slashdot karma is more valuable than some other kind of Karma (Digg karma, whatever); it's purely a subjective decision on the part of the destination site, deciding what forms of "reputation currency" they're willing to honor. If a site was perceived as being easy to game, then its karma wouldn't be valuable elsewhere. Likewise, credentials that are hard to fake, hard to obtain, and easy to verify (if there is such a thing), would be worth a lot, probably at many places.

Re:And what do you buy with that currency? (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375715)

Well, some of us have been lucky that we've managed to get our own names (or pseudonym in my case) almost everywhere. But some folks don't use quite as unique names.

    I guess if there was a pseudonym reputation ranking facility somewhere, it would need to have every pseudonym for each resource listed. Ahhh, a tall order just got taller.

    But, our pseudonym is such because we don't necessarily WANT everyone knowing who we are.

    JWSmythe (my pseudonym) is kind of well known. I show up all over the place, including one of my own sites (jwsmythe.com). But, when it comes down to it, JWSmythe isn't a real person. The JWSmythe you converse daily with on another site isn't necessarily me. If you were to walk up to me in real life and say "Mr. Smythe?", I'd just give you a dumb stare and ask "Who?", just like almost everyone else would.

    Who cares what a ranking system on the net says about a pseudonym? Some people think I'm great. Some think I'm an ass. Hell, even here, I have an 'Excellent' karma. I have 137 "fans" in my fans list (thanks everyone!), and 10 "freaks".

    You can't make everyone happy all the time. I'd say more so in real life, but people tend to blast folks they don't like even more with the anonymity of the Internet. Me and my keyboard, you can't reach out and bitch slap me. :) But hey, 93% of the folks who bothered to pick a side seem to like me. (and 98% of statistics are wrong.) I can only pick up 10% of the women in any given bar, so there's a big difference in the Internet, and real life.

    (on that, if I were to try, I have a 99.9999% chance of not picking a lovely lady in that 10%)

Re:Trust is the currency (2)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374659)

Trust in an online world is a tricky thing. Despite how noble the intentions might be, any information you reveal about yourself always has the possibility of being exploited when you reveal it to such a large audience (what do you reveal so people can verify your credentials, yet so you can still remain anonymous enough that it can't be exploited). With increased exposure, you open yourself up to a lot of people who might use that information to do harm.


I remember somebody posting a comment on /. about how they didn't care about who knew their identity and soon enough, based on the name given, information was posted about the poster's home address and social security number, and other information about his work history, education, contact information. Nowadays, with even limited information revealed about yourself, you can learn pretty much everything about a person making it much easier to commit identity theft or something even worse.

That's one of the major problems facing social networking sites nowadays. With Myspace having numerous problems regarding sexual offenders and spying, as well as the large variety of unexpected problems to be faced like a teacher being denied a degree for a myspace photo http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/08/01 40225 [slashdot.org] , principal canceling classes for a myspace prank http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/11/07 37203 [slashdot.org] , and the numerous issues that arise with privacy and liability on an almost daily basis having serious negative effects. Even bullying occurring at a political level with Obama hijacking the Myspace profile of a volunteer who started an unofficial Obama campaign group that had thousands of people in it http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/ 02/1453214 [slashdot.org] .

Seems like there's a fine line between how much information you can reveal so that you can have your reputation verified, without having it exploited, stolen, or misused.

The Public is not qualified to rate reputation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374749)

As demonstrated by Digg, the popular diggs (and for that matter, the top Slashdotters) often are those who espouse the community view, not the accurate one. This is especially true on scientific or factual posts where inaccurate information or theory is dugg up. The general readership is not qualified in these cases to rate reputation when we care about accuracy or truth.

This is the partner to GroupThink on social discussions. Reputation serves very little value, except to make you feel like you are in a community of like-minded zombies. Scientists are often quite at odds with each other until the issue is later investigated, but on a discussion board, one viewpoint will win.

Case in point: the "In soviet russia, Y X's you!" (where X and Y are the inverse propositions) will gain karma. Arguably humor is valuable, but they will crush someone who writes a technically accurate scientific discussion that runs contrary to the layman view.

Moderate down if you like, but the truth hurts.

Re:The Public is not qualified to rate reputation (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375105)

the "funny" tag doesn't improve your karma. Karma itself is kind of meaningless since it's now just an adjective and it's trivial to get the +2 bonus. But crap like that being posted (and moderated up) dilutes the entire discussion. Especially when there's 30 follow up comments explaining and retelling the joke.

Re:The Public is not qualified to rate reputation (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375255)

I'm thinking a good reputation tracking site wouldn't necessarily need the community at large to rate reputations it's not necessarily going to reflect groupthink, since it's not a bunch of random people rating other people. Rating metric can instead focus on experiences that a small number of people (individuals) had with them in specific interactions. If you don't trust someone to rate you fairly, then you don't go ahead with the transaction, or you don't give them access to see your profile.

If people/sites are using reputation to decide whether/not the person is trusted or not to become a member of some site, then presumably the person who wants to be trusted for a transaction or site account signup, will approve to have the decisionmaker's e-mail address added to a database, or sent an "access key" /"password" that would enable them "decisionmaker" access to the user's profile.

Then only let these people actually "rate" a user's overall profile, and only for the duration of the access grant that the user chose to grant the other party "decisionmaker access".

Let good ratings have a waiting period of 60 days or so before going into effect, during which time, the rater can change them freely, whereas poor ratings go into effect immediately, must have an explanation, and cannot be changed, except to be withdrawn if both parties certify the rating was based on bad information.

Bad ratings/"reputation sullying" would be required to be made by either a decisionmaker, or the administration of a site that one of the credentials came from (or was used on). This reduces noise, since it limits the group of people who can "rate" someone to the people who have directly dealt with them, and it also means you have to "trust" the other party with "decisionmaker" or "credential issuer" access to your profile, before they would be allowed to stick any good or bad marks on any credentials.

I.E. extending on an earlier example, if a nym has a credential like "good karma on slashdot.org", then presumably, anyone with the "slashdot.org administrator" credential, or a @slashdot.org e-mail address (depending on site profile), could expire or "sully" that credential from anyone that holds it. Also, if they use that credential in a financial transaction, where the other party gets "decisionmaker" access, that other party will "sully" the credential by linking it to the bad experience with the overall nym, if they apply a negative rating.

Re:Trust is the currency (4, Funny)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374835)

I have some nasty comments about this, but first let me switch to AC.

Re:Trust is the currency (4, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375041)

Honestly, Slashdot is one of the better examples of this (Slashdot's moderation system does alter the flow of the discussion but it does get a downright reasonable signal-to-noise ratio vs other online communities).

That's because Slashdot's system puts only minimal emphasis on individuals, and very high emphasis on selected adjectives of value. Comments do not simply get moderated up or down, but have to be moderated with a chosen adjective, such as "insightful", "informative", "funny", etc. This really helps keep people's heads on straight, especially with the presence of meta-moderation, because people then have to agree on what these words mean. The end result is that posts are usually moderated in close proximity to these labels.

The karma attribute is used only as an accessory to this content-based moderation, to provide some inertia to the community's character. It's not really a reputation centered system.

Re:Trust is the currency (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375661)

Comments do not simply get moderated up or down, but have to be moderated with a chosen adjective, such as "insightful", "informative", "funny", etc

Yeah, it's not like you can just do an "overrated" or "underrated" that won't get reviewed.

Oh, wait...

Re:Trust is the currency (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375603)

We're assuming that real names

You lost the present audience with that one statement.

Which, interestingly enough, makes a point of its own - You perhaps have a level of real-world credibility that you would like to extend a priori to your online life. Many of us would rather keep our "real" lives 100% separate, and accept the penalty of needing to prove ourselves for each online community in which we participate.

I submit myself as such an example - I have 3.5 degrees (1.5 of them in "hard" subjects) covering something like 250 credit hours, yet choose to present myself semi-anonymously on Slashdot - Where I happen to have "Excellent" karma. My education no doubt helps me, both in composing intelligible posts, and with having a good background from which to post meaningful commentary on a variety of topics. But I rarely even mention my academic credentials here, and don't think I've ever invoked them as support in an argument online (except as I used them here, just as an possibly-meaningless example from my own life).



But yeah, it's a very difficult problem. Figuring it out is a big, potentially very lucrative issue.

Lucrative, indeed! Many companies would love the ability to tie an individual's multiple online personas together under a single massive profile. Cookies failed, WebBugs failed, Flash Shared Objects failed - What greater victory could the world of commerce claim than to get us to voluntarily do that which they can't seem to force on us?

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll earn my reputation at each site on which I choose to play, and make it as hard as possible to connect this account with any others I might have. I value my anonymity (or since I won't pretend any of us really have that, at least "plausible deniability") far, far more than I dislike the small credibility-penalty of needing to establish a new online persona.

Re:Trust is the currency (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375921)


    Pla,

    I have no academic accomplishments, yet I am well spoken. I have life experience in many fields. That (and my razor sharp wit) has secured my 'Excellent' karma.

    Reputation is in the eye of the beholder. Just because 10,000 people say I'm cool, cute, smart, funny, or an all around nice guy, does that mean that YOU will think so? Probably not.

    I generally use one pseudonym, but there are others, and absolutely no ties between them. I don't tie any of them to the real-life me. At least, mostly. :)

    The only folks who know the ties between JWSmythe and my real life counterpart, are my friends, the FBI, NSA, CIA, and DIA.
(My apologies if I missed any 3 letter names there guys. You know where to write to remind me that you're watching.)

    Anonymously,

    JW Smythe

eh? (0, Offtopic)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374363)

Why is The article uses Digg, Wikipedia, and eBay as examples and muses whether their models could be applied more widely in a different colour to the rest of the text?

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374407)

Somehow, it ended up inside its own <a> tag with no href attribute, so it gets its coloration from the CSS style for that tag.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374775)

Somehow, it ended up inside its own <a> tag

No it didn't. If that were true, then it wouldn't have appeared at all. It was inside an <a> element, not an <a> tag.

Re:eh? (1)

garbletext (669861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374409)

sloppy markup. that text has got an anchor tag around it with no href attribute.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374443)

sloppy markup. that text has got an anchor tag around it with no href attribute.

Having editors who check these sorts of things could greatly improve Slashdot's reputation...

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375061)

Don't be an ass. kdawson usually does a good job. This is one of the few times that I've seen him screw up a story. The other editors however...

Re:eh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374419)

Someone dropped an anchor tag.

Re:eh? (2, Interesting)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375065)

Hehe, I just thought my eyes were the problem. It's pretty late here, so it wouldn't surprise me.

online resumes (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374403)

As mentioned in the article, online resumes are one easy way of verifying credentials. But even that's not perfect, as they can be faked quite easily. Heck, people have been fudging information in their resumes even before the internet was invented!

Maybe somebody like Google can use their search engine technology to develop an improved algorithm that would perform multiple searches across multiple websites and databases to come up with some type of score rating an individual's credibility. But even this has drawbacks; do we really want to give Google that kind of power?

Wikipedia needs reputation system (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374417)

I think Wikipedia is a site that really needs to somehow integrate the reputation of it's contributors into the articles. I haven't kept up with the structural changes they've made in the past couple years, but a lot of the editing work seems to be undoing trolling and vandalism, and also participating in edit and revision wars. I could be wrong at this point.

But if wikipedia had a reputation system ( other than just being banned or allowed ), they might automate contributions from reputable authors ( and check on the actual contributions later), while authors who are less reputable may have their contributions queued for review before they are published.

Furthermore, a casual user would be able to have a more savvy understanding of the reputability of any article or section of an article if it is tagged with the reputation of its' author.

Reputable authors might be able to also tag the contributions of others, such that the text or information itself gets a reputation. That would help users make a judgement about the validity of information on Wikipedia.

Instead of pushing the mechanics of the actual editing of articles behind the scenes, and just presenting a 'final' article to the end-user, let's formalize the process and enfranchise users into the process of judging the validity of articles.

Goatse! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374471)

Goatse! [goatse.cz]

Hear, hear! (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374969)

I think Wikipedia is a site that really needs to somehow integrate the reputation of it's contributors into the articles.


Indeed! Here's my own anecdote on that: I recently tried editing an article on a certain Posada Carriles, a man whom the Cuban government and Wikipedia call a "terrorist".


I was browsing the Cuban government site Granma [granma.cu] where they had a list of what they called evidence against Posada. One item was an AK-47 rifle, another item was a box of 5.56mm ammo for that rifle. It doesn't take much of gun expertise to know that NATO ammo doesn't go into an AK-47, and I tried to put that in a paragraph criticizing the accusations against Posada. I don't know the guy, for all I know he could really be a terrorist, but you aren't going to convict anyone in a civilized court of law with that kind of "evidence".


I was thoroughly flamed by someone about that. It seems that Cuban government sympathizers are carefully patrolling any critical statements about the dictatorship. If Wikipedia had a reputation system, the commies would mod me down for presenting a balanced view in their rant against Posada, but I would recover my karma through my other contributions. OTOH, fanatics would find it too troublesome to fake an interest in subjects other than their favorite and their karma would suffer from that.

Re:Hear, hear! (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375025)

That's a good anecdote, but I think wikipedia has a policy against 'independent research'. That means that you can't put original information or ideas on wikipedia; you can only summarize other information. So your information doesn't belong on wikipedia. Doesn't mean you needed to get flamed, though.

I don't know, maybe you could put up a page explaining the illogicality of this 'evidence', and then cite it. I don't know about wikipedia's policy about validity of references.

Re:Hear, hear! (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375131)

There ARE modifications of AK-47 and AK-74 for NATO ammo.

Re:Hear, hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375379)

Wikipedia has a no original research policy. You cannot make an original assertion directly on Wikipedia, even if you feel that your argument is logical. You should link to a reputable source making that assertion. If there's no such source, then your criticism is novel and you should get it published(for example by contacting media). You are not supposed to publish original ideas on Wikipedia. This makes sense if you remember that it's supposed to be an encyclopedia. Encyclopedias—at least as Wikipedia sees them— aren't supposed to publish new information, they are supposed to summarize already existent knowledge.

It also makes sense when you think of how nightmarishly difficult it would be to have to verify any and all random claims made by anonymous persons on the internet.

Wikipedia isn't scientific (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375687)

You cannot make an original assertion directly on Wikipedia, even if you feel that your argument is logical. You should link to a reputable source making that assertion.


Well, let's see how all this happened, step-by-step.


I was browsing Granma, looking for news about Castro's health when I saw this link to evidence against "the terrorist". I had never heard about this guy, but the so-called evidence was very obviously fake. I looked in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . The opening sentence in that article today, 2007/06/03, says "Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles (born February 15, 1928) is a Cuban-born Venezuelan anti-Castro militant". At the time I first read it, the word "terrorist" was where "anti-Castro militant" is today. There's obviously an edit war going on.


I re-checked the photograph in Granma. I looked in a book, "An Illustrated Guide to Weapons of the Modern Soviet Ground Forces", Ray Bonds ed., Salamander Books, 1981, ISBN 086101 115 5. There in pages 136, 137 was a photograph of an original soviet AK-47 which was identical, to the last rivet, to the rifle pictured in Granma. The rifle in the photograph wasn't modified, it does not fire 5.56mm cartridges, the Cuban evidence against Posada Carriles was fake.


I linked my criticism to the photograph in Granma and cited my Salamander Books reference. This is, in no way at all, an "original idea", it's a carefully constructed criticism with sources fully cited. As I said in my other post, this is a crude attempt at framing, based on that evidence alone, Posada Carriles would be acquitted in any civilized court of justice.


Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn't work as a scientific publication or as a court of law either. In any of those cases, the evidence I submitted would be examined and weighted. The way Wikipedia edit wars work is that the one who is most persistent wins. I don't care so much for Posada Carriles that I would stand watch and change what others have written about him. I just found this guy who was obviously the victim of a frame-up. Perhaps he is a terrorist after all, I don't know, but it's a certain fact that the Cuban government forged evidence against him and i tried to point that out.

Re:Wikipedia needs reputation system (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375449)

I think Wikipedia is a site that really needs to somehow integrate the reputation of it's contributors into the articles. I haven't kept up with the structural changes they've made in the past couple years, but a lot of the editing work seems to be undoing trolling and vandalism, and also participating in edit and revision wars. I could be wrong at this point.

But if wikipedia had a reputation system ( other than just being banned or allowed ), they might automate contributions from reputable authors ( and check on the actual contributions later), while authors who are less reputable may have their contributions queued for review before they are published.

Furthermore, a casual user would be able to have a more savvy understanding of the reputability of any article or section of an article if it is tagged with the reputation of its' author.

Reputable authors might be able to also tag the contributions of others, such that the text or information itself gets a reputation. That would help users make a judgement about the validity of information on Wikipedia.

Instead of pushing the mechanics of the actual editing of articles behind the scenes, and just presenting a 'final' article to the end-user, let's formalize the process and enfranchise users into the process of judging the validity of articles.
As usual, we should still have the political and religious bias problems to deal with in such a system.

**Would (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375461)

We need some system to keep the discussion fair to both sides.

"I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death to defend your right to say it" --Thomas Jefferson.

Too hard? No, too soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374453)

Online reputation has one very important requirement: syndicated identity. That's one of the reasons why OpenID, Passport, etc are so important. Before these systems were available, people wanting to do online reputation had to invent their own syndicated identity system as well as actually build the reputation system.

Now that OpenID is starting to take off, with decent toolset support, I expect the number of people working on reputation systems to skyrocket. This is what has been holding things back, not because of any innate difficulty.

Wikipedia??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374463)

Yeah, right. This is the same project currently struggling with a huge sockpuppetry problem.

Hmm (3, Interesting)

Seiruu (808321) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374477)

The only reason online reputation is hard is because online identification is hard. Once you're past the identification and privacy issues you could go Google: your single/central/one point rated identity, linked with all your accounts from all over the place which should give you some sort of a global and more specified ranking (karma on ./, trustworthiness on ebay, whatever rating/googlerank on google/amazon) for people to search for.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374793)

I agree with you Seiruu. It is easy to find out the identity of someone if you really need to know where they stand on stuff, google, yahoo, and the like can build you a pretty large portfolio on someone.

I will add to that - this Online Reputation crap sounds like red tape to keep peoples opinions *off* the net, or at least cede your availiblity to get your views known. Becarful to agree with something such as this, that could regulate your freedom of speech, or even your reputation questioned because the party that grades your reputation doesn't like you.

I can already see where this could be used as a whitch hunt device for the net, a lobbist tool, and so on and so forth. This type of stuff should never be granted availibility since it would make a specific group give their opinion on someone else (and not allow more then one concensus on them). This can usually be adjusted by alittle lobbing and cash to that party to sweeten the reputation of that said party. Then it just becomes a "I can buy my reputation" form there. The only people would survive this type of critism are the ones with money. And at that I think that is why this is being suggested here on Slashdot.

I think this aready happens to companies we deal with on a day to day basis, when such business like JD Powers and such groups review them.
         

Web design (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374495)

Companies will often try to maintain "reputation" by using a rigid, non-interactive web design. With Flash, for example, a website becomes just a commercial to sell the perception of quality, or the illusion of branding.

(Isn't that right, all you "Hubsters"?)

What about LinkedIn? (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374499)

LinkedIn has a reputation model that works in a limited sense. It tells you the people on the chain between yourself and an individual, up to a certain length.

Since you know (by definition) the first person on the chain you can ask them to make enquiries along the chain about the person you want to know about. It lists up to 3rd degree associations, ie your friend knows them or your friend knows a friend of theirs. Surprisingly effective for finding out about someone you want to hire, in a general sense at least.

I'm still waiting for a P2P system that works the same way - you create encrypted connections to your friends, and can pass requests for content that are spidered out across the network automatically.

Because you only ever talk to your friends, and because no ultimate destination information is passed on, it should be very good at preserving anonymity - in exactly the same way as Freenet is, in fact.

The difference would be that because you manually tell it which nodes to locally connect to there is no danger of encountering a poisoned node... as long as none of your friends are spies for the MAFIAA.

Re:What about LinkedIn? (2, Interesting)

crAckZ (1098479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374555)

that is a good idea. but one weak link will destroy the chain. what if one of those people gets hacked? malicous software is placed and then the whole chain gets it and it spreads. as of right now i see no viable way of doing this. there are to many factors and was to hide any identity or truth. if it was accomplished what if your information leaked? soemone signed you up for alot of questionable sites and your ID was trashed. then you have to take the time to rebuild and correct all that information.

Re:What about LinkedIn? (2, Informative)

Phil Resch (447588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374715)

Regarding your P2P network of friends ... have you heard of WASTE? If I understand you correctly, it's more or less what you're suggesting. At any rate, its Wikipedia page is worth reading. It has some interesting information, and a lot of links to follow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WASTE [wikipedia.org]

Re:What about LinkedIn? (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375007)

Buzzz..... sorry, wrong answer.

Look, I have 3 kinds of links in my Linkedin lists. Those that know me professionally. Those I am reconnecting with (how much about my profession does a guy who was in my dorm in college know about?) and finally HEADHUNTERS. Yup, linkedin has already been taken over by headhunters. I have multiple HR people from consulting firms I used to work for pulling in hundreds of contacts. Yet these people know nothing of my current reputation.

It is HARD (-1, Offtopic)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374565)

But I worked hard to establish my solid online reputation, it has girth, you can really put your hands around it and sink your teeth in.

Linking RL with the IL (3, Insightful)

FoxNSox (998422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374575)

Even still, it is hard to rank someones reputation based on a numbers system. In alot of forums I post on, I am a regular poster with a high rank. However, alot of people have an issue with me because of my free speech (the beauty of the internet). Is there really a standardized way to determine reputation? It really has to do with the context. If you are on a programming forum, you may rank someone based on their aptitude for a specific language, or their problem-solving skills. Conversely, if you are on a political debate forum, ones reputation may be based on how fluently their opinions are expressed.

Re:Linking RL with the IL (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374845)

I run a reputation system on Second Life.

My solution to that was to make it a graph. Scores are calculated depending on who you are and who you're looking at. So Alice likes Bob, who likes Carol, who likes Dave. Alice builds a tree, and adds up all the paths leaving to the same person.

This works well for me, the only problem is that it's very resource intensive. Cost increases exponentially with depth.

On the other hand, it's very resistant to attempts to disrupt it. Simply getting extra accounts doesn't work, as those need to be trusted by somebody for their opinion to be taken into account, and each successive level counts less to the final score than the previous one.

It also allows completely different perceptions of the same person from different points of view. For example, in your case people concerned about writing skills would tend to rate you based on that, and they'd rate each other on the same criteria as well. So on a programming forum your reputation would mostly depend on your programming ability, and on a political one it'd depend mostly on your argumentative skills and affiliation.

Credentials (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374597)

One of the solutions Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger suggests is using "credentialed" experts who have college degrees or an institutional email address. This not only smacks of arrogance, it is completely fallacious. It is like suggesting that a person with a drivers license is a good driver.

This process also effectively eliminates the diligent amateur who may very well have good very good methodologies of investigation.

Expertise can be got by many methods. Certifications merely prove that you paid the price, and passed the tests. After that it's all tenure.

Re:Credentials (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375299)

Yes, but someone with a driver's license probably isn't a complete n00b at it.

Instant Mashed Repuation! (5, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374615)

The problem is that everyone wants to know right now who is trustworthy and who is not.

Building a reputation takes time, often a lot of time. Amazon's reputation is built on several years of good service, good web design, and overwhelmingly positive customer experiences.

Facebook and Digg don't have that track record, and until they do will not enjoy the same level of trust.

Any system designed to give a stamp of approval needs only one mistake to become untrustworthy. Unless it can be nearly 100% foolproof it won't be effective. And given the number of supposedly trustworthy businesses who are anything but, I'd say that rating reputation is not likely to happen soon.

The bigger question is WHAT you trust them for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374673)

As Digg has demonstrated, often people who espouse the "common belief" over the correct one are given the upvote or digg credit. This is reputation by popularity, NOT by accuracy or correct viewpoint. Science, for example, is about verifiable and testable results; there is little room for arguing over the basics. However, sites like Digg and (sometimes) Slashdot will upvote the incorrect information on a given topic.

So the question then becomes: is the public qualified, as a lowest-common denomintator, to do determine who should have the reputation points?

I would suggest not. I would guess even this post will probably sink down because it challenges the internet reputation rating systems... self-proof of the system at work.

measure reputation among who? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374707)

I don't align politics-wise/religion-wise on this site, so while I have excellent Slashdot karma (built up over a very looong period of time commenting on non-sensitive topics for this audience), I wouldn't otherwise be considered having a very good reputation here.

There's that plus many sites like these are mostly just kids playing around and/or just mouthing off saying any ridiculous thing because they can. And practicing to be good little enforcers of Political Correctness for when they get older.

So, an online reputation based on sites like this at least, is valueless. The value of a reputation is only as good as the people who judge it are worthy to judge.

The First Law of Cyberspace (1)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374727)


There is no such thing as negative trust.

(Once you accept that, the rest isn't so hard.)

heatware (2, Insightful)

mscdex (774392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374757)

Heatware [heatware.com] Most frequently trusted on many For Sale/For Trade forums because of their strong stance on scammers.

What about well-prepared people? (5, Interesting)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374759)

I haven't used my name for posting on the Internet since 1997 when I realized that dejanews.com would keep my newsgroup postings forever (even that was with a somewhat random e-mail address). I literally don't have any internet presence with my real name unless it's inadvertent (ie. a news release from my employer) but the good thing is that my name is so common I would be hard to find anyway.

So in it's place, I created a whole shitload of false identities that I post under, one of them about 10 years old now. Mainly on forums and newsgroups for work purposes, etc. If you searched for this particular identity, you would probably fine hundreds of posts (including many on slashdot) some of them truthful, some of them fake, with various opinions of topics.

Every few years I will discard an identity or create a new one, for various reasons. I even have a fake lj blog that I've created just for the purpose of having that sense of "credibility", just in case I need it. I usually update that every few weeks, with something that I read on someone else's blog, but changing the words around just enough so that I can't be googled and exposed as a fake. I make sure each identity has a different way of typing, different levels of typos or capitalization, etc. I don't think you would be able to properly gauge the "credibility" of this person at all.

I doubt I'm unique and there are probably scores of people doing the same thing. As internet users get more and more sophisticated, how will internet credibility really be gauged unless you actually meet someone face-to-face? I was even contemplating getting a pay-as-you-go cellphone with no traceability (paid with cash at a store in a different city than where I live) just in case I needed to talk with someone offline. I'm doubtful you can really establish credibility to the point where it's better to just assume that everyone is lying and be on the guard all the time.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374877)

How is your career so far working as an undercover agent for the FBI/CIA/Whatever?

Re:What about well-prepared people? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375525)

He doesn't work for any organization that has initials.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (2, Interesting)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374923)

Same here. I keep quite a few different characters, and shed the old ones in order to keep my privacy. Everybody I know does it to keep their past from haunting them. Funny how I look back on my old personalities and realize what a moron I was. It'd be horrible if people took the posts I made when I was 14 and use them as evidence against my character. People change in the real world, and the past is normally forgotten, but on teh interwebs, they stay the same, unless WE can help it. Also, it's great to see a new email account that spammers haven't gotten a hold of yet.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (1)

X-rated Ouroboros (526150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375359)

Never forget your past.

I've made a habit of going over the stuff I put out ten and fifteen years ago and recalling how enthusiastically certain I was about everything I wrote. And how amusingly simple and corrupted everything I "knew" at that time has turned out to be. I expect in another ten or fifteen years I'll look back at my 2007 self, shake my head, and think the exact same thing. Or maybe not, because, I hope, I can learn from my mistakes. People can change on teh intartubes, too, unless they hide and destroy the record of their progress.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19374949)

There is a term for that. It's called paranoia.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (1, Flamebait)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374995)

You sir, have either been badly burned by dishonesty in the past or are a chronic liar.

In any case, you seem to have some serious trust issues.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375277)

what about people who dont want to have their opinions out there for potential employers or gfs/bfs to see? on one hand we're supposed to make sure we dont make ourselves look stupid on facebook, myspace,etc , but if we do take steps to protect ourself we're called paranoid with trust issues? that is dumb

Re:What about well-prepared people? (1)

RowanS (1049078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375329)

You don't want your girlfriend/boyfriend to know what your opinions are? I'm not Dr Phil but yes, I think you might have trust issues.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375649)

You sir, have either been badly burned by dishonesty in the past or are a chronic liar. In any case, you seem to have some serious trust issues.

I do a similar thing to the gp poster. I keep my online identity private now. In my case, a net.troll decided to email a carefully edited selection of my posts to the alt.sex groups (back in the days before spam killed them) to my born-again Christian manager. Of course that had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my being let go a week later, he's willing to swear to that under oath if need be. :-/

One day, enough people will realise that what you say on the net doesn't have to reflect on your professional performance. That day isn't here yet, and I figure I've already paid enough of a price in waiting for that day to come.

Re:What about well-prepared people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375671)

I doubt I'm unique and there are probably scores of people doing the same thing.

Not to that extreme, no. Have you considered seeing a psychologist?

Re:What about well-prepared people? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375899)

I doubt I'm unique and there are probably scores of people doing the same thing.
I am sure there are lots of people myself included that maintain a few "identities" on the net. But maintaining completely fake blogs, and managing the levels of typo and other errors per identity that is a whole special kind of paranoia.

Unless you are tring to evade some agency, I doubt there are people scrapeing the net for posts and comparing them to the degree required to determine different psudonyms are the same person.

Relax, speak your mind, keep two or three of those IDs, discard the rest stop wasteing engery on the fake blogs and use the free time for something fun like encoraging youg women to remove their clothing or even better let you do it.

RapLeaf (1)

AaronBrethorst (860210) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374777)

What about RapLeaf [rapleaf.com] ? Although it's centered around ratings for conducting transations, I have to believe their system would be pretty effective across a broad spectrum of reputation and ratings needs. Plus, they offer a set of APIs, which is always handy.

Advogato (2, Informative)

MSG (12810) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374897)

Well, there's Advogato's Trust Metric [advogato.org] system.

I've been of the opinion for a while that a similar system could be devised using PGP or S/MIME certificates to combine identity verification with "web of trust" reputation evaluation. Under such a model, every user would import the public certificate of authorities that they trust. For example, consider a consumer review web site, where I decide to trust the site's admin. The admin trusts its editorial staff, and their certificates are signed by the admin. Any of the editorial staff may trust one of the site's frequent contributors, based on the quality of their work. That editor may sign the contributor's certificate. Now, my level of trust for that contributor can be established as a function of the proximity of that user to the admin in whom I placed trust. This differs from Advogato's system in that the "Master" certificates are simply those whom I've decided to trust.

The same thing can be applied to social networking sites, as well. I can trust my friends by accepting their certificates, and gain insight into social relationships by examining the signatures in their keys.

Re:Advogato (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374997)

The problem with PGP is that it's too complicated to understand for normal people. Now, I love it, but even the Windows GUI versions of it are hard to explain, because the concepts of webs of trust, fingerprints, signatures, and security are alien to most people.

I implemented something web of trust-like in Second Life, but without signatures, and without a root. Instead the server has a big table of user1/user1/rating rows. You are the root, to find a score the server builds your tree and adds up all the paths leading to an interesting person, if any.

This works well, but it's very resource intensive.

Re:Advogato (1)

MSG (12810) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375181)

...the concepts of webs of trust, fingerprints, signatures, and security are alien to most people.

Well, the trust relationships are the entire foundation of a reputation system, so we're going to have to engage in education on that front. However, just because it's complicated to use PGP (or S/MIME, more likely) directly doesn't mean that software can't use it as the underlying mechanism for a reputation system.

I implemented something web of trust-like in Second Life, but without signatures,

Second Life validates users' identities, right? In that case you wouldn't need signatures. I envision a decentralized system, though, and that's going to need cryptography.

and without a root.

Does a "web of trust" ever have a fixed root? :)

Re:Advogato (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375229)

Second Life validates users' identities, right? In that case you wouldn't need signatures. I envision a decentralized system, though, and that's going to need
cryptography.

Yep. Also when user-owned scripts contact my HTTP server, the SL server adds headers with the name and user ID of the script's owner. That definitely helps a lot making it friendlier. I was thinking that you were thinking of something implemented on one website, in which case you can also avoid the crypto.

Does a "web of trust" ever have a fixed root? :)

It doesn't, but it can have it. For example, SSL certificates have a root, the web browser. From there you have CAs, which sign each site's certificates.

Having a root would be an advantage in some ways. For example, since I don't have one, your score is different depending on who is looking at you, so I can't just precalculate your score and show a cached result to everybody. On the other hand, results would be a lot less precise.

Re:Advogato, not quite (1)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375207)

From the Advogato FAQ: "All the trust metric guarantees is that they really are who they say they are."

It's not a reputation system per se, but just a more reliable identification system. That is a prerequisite for having a reputation system, of course, but it's not the whole thing.

The next step would be some way to figure if the person identified is known to be beneficial or harmful to the community. That is a much, much harder problem, not the least of which is because we probably don't all agree on which is which.

I think Slashdot, for all our whining, has done a pretty great job addressing such an intractable problem. Of course, as someone who has been stamped by the system with relatively good Karma that's very easy for me to say :)

Cheers.

Reward and punishment (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374921)

Online, and in real life, we reward bullying and punish honesty. How do you make a reputation in that environment?

This is the Internet; who are we kidding? (1)

A_Scanner_Snoopy (991922) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374955)

The reputation system? Maybe something that, yes, we'd like try, but, this being the Internet, there always will be some sites somewhere that put out misinformation. Politically-motivated sites are the first ones that come to mind for me.

The idea of a transferable, semantic reputation is identity nirvana
No; Kurt Cobain, Chris Novoselic, and Dave Grohl are Nirvana.

Reputation vs. identity (3, Informative)

btempleton (149110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19374979)

The article claims to be about reputation but mostly talks about the various "identity" efforts out there. Yes, a reputation is associated with an identity, but most of the identity systems being promoted focus on real identity rather than pseudonyms which you can choose to associate with yourself or not.

There is a paradox to those systems -- the easier they are to use, the more they will get used -- and demanded. We'll go from a web where most web sites can be used casually, with no "sign on" (single or otherwise) to a web where far more sites demand you use the single sign on and thus have an account, because it's easy for them to ask.

This paradox is described at http://ideas.4brad.com/paradox-identity-management [4brad.com]

Online reputation? All reputation is hard to do (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375093)

It's why we have exams, professional organisations, CVs, brands, social networking etc etc etc.

We use reputation all the time and no-one has come up with a single reliable, coherent way of measuring it. You just try to get a decent builder.

 

Why bother? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375173)

There is access via the web to some sources of information which exist independently and so are fairly spoof proof. For instance, someone wanting to research me could look for publications with my name on them in PubMed. Sources like that would be valid, web or no.

But as long as the web remains a place where anyone can say anything, rightly or not, anyone who relies on it for supposedly objective information that they can use to measure a person's reputation is coming in dead last in the old "Arguing on the internet" poster (http://www.argaste.com/img/arguing_on_the_interne t.jpg).

And that's exactly what should happen. The web *should* remain open to anyone for anything. An individual has no better defense against boneheads that would take whatever they find on the web seriously than to prove their faith in all things computerish as truthful misplaced by pointing out absurdities in what's available. In my last position a colleague came to me with the breathless warning that someone in the department had found some less than flattering stuff about me on the net. I responded by posting a picture of me from the net on my office door (not the same as http://www.subgenius.com/bigfist/fun/devivals/X-Da y98/POST-X-DAY/X-DayPhotos/portraitsTN/_dynasoar.h tml [subgenius.com] but from the same stage show). I never heard another word from them.

That being said, as long as anyone can post anything, a person's best defense against misinformation is disinformation. The latter invalidates the former in any rational mind. If someone still can't see the joke, that's not someone whose opinion matters to me anyway, even if it's a potential employer. I want to know when they're so informationally inbred so as to take this garbage seriously, as I want to steer clear of them. These are the same people, in spirit if not in truth, that would believe anything they read on paper if it was green and white lined line printer paper printed with dot matrix, since it obviously "came from a computer" and so must be right.

There's a real world, and the web does not reflect it any more than what's printed on that green and white lined paper.

OpenID Not A Good Candidate For Trusted IDs (1)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375275)

I've been doing some research on OpenID, which seems to be considered as a possible substrate for building trusted identities (OpenID, as its proponents are quick to point out, only establishes an identity token, not trust). However, I hope that trust does not get built on the OpenID model because the OpenID protocol for identification is very poor from a security standpoint, a blindness to which the OpenID proponents have (I think) because of the vocabulary used.

Basically, the way OpenID works is that you connect to some site, give it your OpenID, which is just a URL, and the site you connected to (in the initial 1.0 standard of OpenID), gets the content at the URL. From the URL, it finds the URL of an identity server and redirects your browser to that server. Here's where the problem lies: In OpenID terms the site that you connected to is called the 'relying party'. However, you are really the 'relying' party because you are relying on the site you just connected to to send you the correct URL of your identity server. If instead they send you to a machine that merely proxies your identity server, they get your identity server password as you authenticate and your identity is compromised.

Now, there are various ways that OpenID proponents say this can be handled, but it's a fundamentally dangerous security model when you rely on an untrusted site to direct you to your identity system. The use of encrypted keychains (keyword bing encrypted here) with browser autofill, albeit not perfect, is much more secure system and works well enough that I'm not sure what the real savings of OpenID are (OpenID proponents will point to all kinds of other uses that OpenID could *potentially* be used for, but the process it was designed for and only practical purpose to date is to log into web sites using a URL instead of a username and password). Is saving having to fill in a password really worth this much complexity: http://openid.net/pres/protocolflow-1.1.png ?

When it comes to trust, we need to figure out a less complex methodology for identity before we can start establishing trusted identities. We also need to make an identity valuable, and right now an OpenID identity doesn't really represent something of value to general users who already have keychains and autofill. In fact, OpenID proponents often defend OpenID by saying that it should be used for low risk logins like blogs and the like. In that case, non-encrypted browser auto-complete is already superior from an end user perspective, and generally enabled by default or by clicking yes on one dialog window with first use of browser.

Privacy? (1)

Catil (1063380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375323)

Most people don't like to be identified or even their synonyms used on different websites to be linked; otherwise you would see more people registering with their real name in the first place and OpenID would be pretty common too by now. I guess the next newsitem on this topic will probably be filed under YRO.
Imaging logging into your workaccount from home and your boss looking up the IP in Google Identity Search or something and seeing every website you visited and every comment you made. Google could probably really do something like that, since they know every website using Adsense you visit anyway and that's a lot.

Also, I couldn't care less if someone writing informative and insightful comments here on /. is trolling on some other website. It's the content of that one particular comment that matters and not what he wrote a year ago on some other website. Next thing will be that people don't even read comments anymore because everyone gets automodded based on his karma anyway? ;)

Rules of Reputation (1)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375693)

Back in March, I sketched out some "Laws of Reputation" (along the lines of Kim Cameron's "Laws of Identity") on my blog. As I thought about it, I came to the same conclusion. It's *hard*. eBay has a good system, but they only have one context to juggle and it's hardly free. I've seen people posting about the need for context & anonymity, which I touched on, but there's a big difference between saying "it needs to" and "it does". At this point...there hasn't been anything done to implement them, and I'm not 100% sure it would be commercially viable.

An online reputation system should be...

Anonymous: The system needs to protect anonymity. OpenID uses URLs for identity, with the knowledge that a person can register for a LiveJournal account under an assumed name and get an OpenID with it. On the other hand, a site like csixty4.com is my OpenID, and I have my name all over the place.


Contextual: We have different facets of our lives, and the should have relatively little ability to influence each other. I could be the most helpful person on technical message boards, but a complete jerk in Star Trek chatrooms. My negative behavior in one venue should influence my reputation in other forums, but to a small extent.


Forgiving: A reputation system can't hold people accountable for stupid things they did ten years ago. A reputation claim against you from a third party should lose relevance with time, and be completely ignored after a "sunset" date.


Automatic: People are quick to complain about bad behavior, but less motivated to laud good behavior. The system should support default, automated "good" ratings, which would carry less weight than a positive reputation claim, and would be in effect until a positive or negative claim is made. In other words, a message board post that isn't marked as "good" or "bad" by other posters would, by default, rate as "half a good" or "1/4 good" as long as nobody said otherwise.


Free: Second Life's reputation system lets users make reputation claims about other people, if the party making the claim pays for the privilege. This is to cut down on people gaming the system, but also acts as a disincentive to say nice things about other people. It shouldn't cost anything to make a reputation claim about another person, and it shouldn't take much effort, either.


Trustworthy: The system should be set up so it's hard to "game". A reputation system is pointless if someone can run a script that creates 1000 fake accounts which all sing the praises of a main account.



What would this reputation system do? On Slashdot, a person's "karma" can modify their posts' scores, and low-scoring posts (trolls, flamebait, etc.) are hidden from view. A similar phenomenon leads to troll posts on Digg to be "dugg down". Similarly, programs and sites could let users set a reputation threshold, and statements from anyone below that threshold would be ignored.

They're just blogs. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375789)

When I first saw the title, I thought this was about reputations for web sites or online businesses, but no, it's about reputations for, well, bloggers. Where it doesn't really matter all that much. It matters for eBay, but most of the sellers on eBay are businesses. It's been a long time since eBay was individual to individual.

Dating sites have struggled with this. True [true.com] wants to see an image of your driver's license. With the controversy over Myspace, we may see them going that way, at least for parents.

Wikipedia doesn't care much about identity, except as regards vandal blocking. Even admins and ArbComm members are anonymous. All Wikipedia needs is some way to slow down unlimited generation of new identities. I once suggested that one way to do that would be to require some easily available, no-cost, unique, verifiable physical token to register. Like an AOL disk.

One approach to identity verification, which I'd like to see used for domain registration, is simply mailing out a card by postal mail. When you register a domain, a letter should be sent to the address listed for the domain. When you get the letter, you type in the password printed in the letter postcard, and the domain registration completes. That would really improve WHOIS data quality and cut down on scams. The cost of sending out customized mailing pieces is under about US$0.50 each when you have a bulk mailing house do it, so it's quite feasible at current domain prices.

Collaborative filtering (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375933)

Reputations are relative. They depend on the person making the recommendation. If the person doing so is a numpty, the information the recommendation is based on isn't worth much. Expanding this to everyone would be what, an N^2 problem? Where N is potentially the population of the planet. Thankfully not everyone knows everyone.

It would require a centralised registry though rather than distributed in order to calculate the effect of the relationship to the person making the recommendation. And it would of course all have to be based on a reliable identity system.

Good luck with that.
 
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