Abstract: Manifesto for the Reputation Society by Hassan Masum and Yi–Cheng Zhang

By Robert Link, published at 7 August 2009 - 3:15pm, last updated 10 years 25 weeks ago.

From the text: "Reputation is a surrogate — a partial reflection representing our "best educated guess" of the underlying true state of affairs. Active evaluation by looking behind surface signals can corroborate or disprove reputations, while indiscriminate use degrades their reliability. The challenge is to encourage active evaluation, but also to use it efficiently since it will always be in limited supply...Being human, each of us has many limitations: time, access, ability, and experience. The main goal of developing enhanced reputation filters is to do as much as possible despite our individual limitations — to cooperatively pierce the veils of deception, mediocrity, and banality..."Who will guard the guardians?" — the age–old problem posed by the Romans remains just as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. Accountability of leaders, of businesspeople, and of those entrusted with public duties must be a key goal of developing a society–wide reputation system ecology."

Manifesto for the Reputation Society by Hassan Masum and Yi–Cheng Zhang; First Monday, Volume 9, Number 7 - 5 July 2004

Information overload, challenges of evaluating quality, and the opportunity to benefit from experiences of others have spurred the development of reputation systems. Most Internet sites which mediate between large numbers of people use some form of reputation mechanism: Slashdot, eBay, ePinions, Amazon, and Google all make use of collaborative filtering, recommender systems, or shared judgments of quality.

But we suggest the potential utility of reputation services is far greater, touching nearly every aspect of society. By leveraging our limited and local human judgment power with collective networked filtering, it is possible to promote an interconnected ecology of socially beneficial reputation systems — to restrain the baser side of human nature, while unleashing positive social changes and enabling the realization of ever higher goals.

Interesting paper, thank you

Interesting paper, thank you for sharing.
A coupe of points that come to mind when reading this:

- Reputation is very sensitive to the Halo effect which can typically create a disconnection between perception and the underlying true state of the affairs. When a company does not perform well on the stock market, it is easy to rationalize that the CEO did not do a good job. The same CEO doing the exact same things in a market where the company does well would be presented as a reference for good management. The good read on the matter is "The Halo Effect" from Phil Rozenweig.
So we need to figure out tools that allow the building of reputation based on accurate evaluations rather than sentiment analysis.

- If we can resolve this problem, then there is a big potential. From the report:

"just as selfish local actions with market incentives can lead to collectively efficient behavior, locally maximizing actions with reputation incentives have the potential for similar guided emergent behavior that exceeds what might have been designed by a conscious planner."

I believe that this is a key element to making capitalism more sustainable. Definitely something worth working on!