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That's generally the logic behind social reputation systems, and it seems completely viable to me. But I love watching it play out, with the inevitable surprises. Whenever I think I can predict human behavior (especially when mediated by computers) it always turns around and bites me in the ass when I least expect it.

By the way, if you believe the mathematicians and the social scientists on this (which I do), -everyone- on the planet would most likely be eligible for Ito's chat room, if he limited admission to people within six degrees of him. That might still be true if he set it to five. (Details: see "Linked: The New Science of Networks" and "The Tipping Point").

Two or three would be more like it. But then, you'd still run into big problems, because it's thrown off by users that fall into a certain class -- these are the people who are very trustworthy, but whose ability to judge trustworthiness sucks. There are a few people on this planet whom I love dearly and would trust with anything involving character, and who are very intelligent when it comes to book smarts, but who are complete suckers. On the other hand, some people have almost supernatural intuition regarding lies or unwholesome intentions. Then you have paranoid people like me who can be too quick to tag people "untrustworthy."

Then there are the guys with great intuition that turns to shit when they meet any woman with large breasts, whom they automatically trust. But that's another story...

Of course this throws another huge layer of complication into the mix, but I think consideration and ratings of people's gullibility, in addition to trustworthiness, would substantially improve the effectiveness of such a trust system.

PS- I no longer trust your ability to judge appropriate images to link to from your weblog. And it scares me to consider where you found that link to begin with...

Michael Fagan

hmn, interesting. digital identity....

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