Ming the Mechanic:
Reputation Systems

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Reputation Systems2002-12-19 03:58
by Flemming Funch

Alex Halavais talks about an experiment with a karma/reputation system in a class he was teaching. The idea being that one had a certain number of points, and one could give them to others for doing good deeds, according to a simple system. But people cheated and the system fell apart.

I've noticed myself that it is rather difficult to make a functional reputation system. There is one in NCN, where people mark others as being 'acquaintances', 'friends' or 'comrades', meaning that they're somewhere on a scale between 'I know them' and 'I would trust them with my life'. Some of the problems I've noticed are:
  • People have different norms. Some people feel they trust everybody unconditionally.
  • Many people feel obliged to be reciprocal, even if they don't quite mean it.
  • Some people try to have several virtual personalities, so they can give each other points.
  • If there is a list of people's reputation ratings as numeric values, ordered in descending numeric order, people change their behavior and get competitive about getting better numbers.
  • If I made the system, and I'm first on the list, people get suspicious.
  • People who are very active get high ratings
  • Some people end up hating reputation systems
Aside from that, it works fairly well. I just think I need to get rid of the comparative listing.

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19 Dec 2002 @ 04:35 by istvan : Yes i think you do.
For those of us who are somewhat familiar with the workings of the Ego it should be apparent that even if we ban it's appearance at the front door, it has a way of sneaking in trough the back door.  

19 Dec 2002 @ 07:51 by martha : stroking
Seems to me lots of people need to be stroked for their thoughts which tells me much is lacking in our world.(surprise!).
Ming, no offense is meant, but the functional reputation system reminds me of high school. On the other hand I find it convenient to email someone here if they are on my list and I am so lazy about that stuff otherwise.
Ming-In this world of ours where everything is rated and compared (old style stuff) maybe you might want to rethink your system in relationship to a new civilization. The old models won't work.
zendancer- good point on the EGO.

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