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Re: The Need for Positive Repuations



> From: [email protected] (Timothy C. May)
> The longterm solution is to use "positive reputations" and not just
> "negative reputations" (as in Kill files). This is something Dean
> Tribble just talked about at our last physical meeting of the
> Cypherpunks ("Bay Area Branch" :-} ).
> 
> Think of like a credit rating. People _earn_ trust, they don't just
> get assigned a credit rating until they do something bad. 

Indeed, in the long run, when there are billions of people in the nets,
even UseNet newsgroups devoted to people who use musical instruments as
sex toys would have thousands of posts a day because given billions of
possible subscribers, finding a few tens of thousands with a particularly
obscure interest wouldn't be hard. Thus, in the long run, the nets will move
to "closed" newsgroups and mailing lists in which to be a subscriber one
will have to be explicitly subscribed to a list and will only be able to
read with one's private key and post by digitally signing messages. In such
an environment, anonymous abusers will simply be incapable of annoying people.

A weak version of this exists already in the Extropians mailing list, which
considers itself to be a closed list. The list is governed by a privately
produced legal code (its in some ways a test of anarchocapitalist legal theory),
and since the adoption of the code, we've had a reduction of flaming by
a large factor even though we've seen a three fold increase in list size.
The content is improving because people know that sanctions will be applied
for flaming and that they can actually be kicked off the list, and that being
kicked off is meaningful. In the long run, all serious discussion groups
will likely evolve in this direction, with the lists being closed to explicit
subscribers and with meaningful sanctions like ostracism being applied to 
people that behave in an antisocial manner. Such lists have little reason
to fear people hiding behind cloaks of anonymity. With digital signatures,
even the anonymous can develop meaningful reputations and can be sanctioned
for failing to live up to those reputations.

Perry