[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: reputation credit 3/3

I am replying to a message by A.Shostack about reputation systems.
I regret that I will probably be unable to follow all aspects
of this thread due to "engagements" but the dialogue so far
has been fascinating (is anyone archiving cypherpunks for
future historians? seems like it would be *hot* material when
the world transitions to a "Cyberspatial Reality" (can't remember
where I saw that term...)

anyway, a few paragraphs caught my eye.

>What if
>Alice can say "I think David is a fanatic. I also think David is a
>windbag." and she says these things in such a way that they can be
>automatically responded to by software? This would require a carefully
>chosen list of opinions that the system would support. If you had too
>many opinions, then the system would be worthless, because, in all
>probability, people would pick different descriptors, and the
>information would not correlate into anything useful. The list could
>probably be fairly short, allowing for terms like windbag, funny,
>fanatical, reasonable, knowledgeable, trustworthy.

there is a lot of merit in the simple idea you write about above,
and I think it deserved to be explored by some "mad programmer" with
enough coding talent and free time on his hands. any takers? <g>

> But any
>system of personal reputations would fail, because bad mouthing
>someone with a digital reputation is an open act.  Very few people
>would talk about Alice in a negative light if they know she will hear
>about it.  And even if they do want to, there doesn't need to be an
>automated system to make it easier.

it seems to me that a lot of good  ideas are dismissed here for
the wrong reasons. what is one man's junk can be another man's gold.
for example, suppose such a system as you indicate is in place.
I can easily imagine that people would *love* to publicly trash
other's people's reputations as a way of saying "I hate his guts,
and I hope everyone else will not listen to him." 

public *negative* reputations are very important and are already
quite ubiquitous in my opinion. they are the means
by which a society exerts force on the individual to conform to social
norms. and as reprehensible as that sounds to some of you, you
cannot deny that exactly this mechanism is employed on the cypherpunks
by e.g. TCMay et.al. i.e. the way TCMay loudly *****PLONKED***** 
someone recently, complaining about "fools and lightweights" for the 
sin of sending him an encrypted message that 
didn't contain any interesting criminal instigations <g>

so this public broadcasting, this "*****PLONK*****" is often quite
public, and you are quite mistaken in thinking people would shy 
away from it, those with the greatest reputations use it as a method
of coercion, in  a sense, a kind of cyberspatial peer pressure!
"if you want to be my friend, you can't be his friend". this might
be called the Larry Detweiler effect, although it appears to me
he has been getting far to much credit lately, maybe the cypherpunk
reputation servers have been hacked <g>

>The big question in my
>mind is how to get people to feed enough information into it to seed
>the system?  Once it gets started, it will run for a while on slow
>growth, and then explode at some random point.  (Probably right after
>a serious design bug is discovered. :)  After it explodes in terms of
>use, it will be self-perpetuating because of its usefulness.

I was saying to A.S. in private mail that I thought it was a pity
that the cypherpunks didn't invent something like WWW that has 
really taken off. For example, If remailers are the natural role of future
cyberspace, why haven't they caught on? I think because there is
no incentive for an operator to run one, and in fact quite a lot
of disincentive (who want to get the message "postmaster: please
yank this account for sending trash). 

the best cyberspatial technologies have an inherent
incentive to everyone that comes in contact with them, operators
in particular (example: NNTP servers are fun for news admins
to read, WWW pages are easy to install and act like miniature
bulletin boards to get responses, etc). maybe
the all-important role of anonymity and pseudonymity could gain
widespread acceptance by "piggybacking" some other amazingly 
desirable system (such as reputation systems).

but I really agree with A.S. that the "self-perpetuating explosion"
is critial to new cyberspatial technology. it is like a meme
spreading, like people latching on to the latest Billboard hit.
A lot of the cypherpunk *ideas* have caught on like this, e.g.
PGP, privacy, etc. but I would like to see a total *cypherpunk* software
creation reach the Cyberspatial Hall of Fame (the anon.penet.fi remailer comes
pretty darned close, but it is just one site.. and pgp, well
Phil Zimmerman has said at times he's *not* a cypherpunk, because
he wears suits <g>). maybe reputation systems will be the cypherpunk
magic bullet.

that makes me wonder: did Julf build his server after being inspired
by the cypherpunks? or did he get the idea somewhere else?

well, I have dropped a lot of hints in this message, and I have
asked some people to agree to nondisclosure agreements on related
issues, and it would be a bit hypocritical for me to say much more,
so I probably won't elaborate much further than what I've
said above for awhile. Mostly I wanted to give Adam Shoestack
some credit for some good ideas.


Vladimir Z Nuri
[email protected]
``Imagination is more important than knowledge.'' (Einstein)