Friday, July 29, 2005

I need to learn more about reputation systems.

It would be cool if such a system could be designed that rated everything. Also, it would be cool if it could be applied to e-mail. Better still would be a rating/reputation system. It would be independent. It would gauge quality. Launch is suboptimal because the interface is clunky and the user doesn't have much control. I was addicted to Launch for a while but I felt it didn't go far enough. I wanted to rate everything. I wanted to be able to take my ratings everywhere. And yet, 100 points might be too many to differentiate. Can you really make a snap judgement between a 92 and a 95? And there's too much temptation to give stuff a 100 just because you think it's really, really awesome. I mean, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," is probably a 100 song but I don't want to hear it morning, noon, and night. Clearly there are more dimensions here. But Slashdot's "5 - funny" doesn't quite go far enough either. Again, it's too easy to get a 5. And yet, people don't want to spend too much time rating stuff. How do you get this info out of people without annoying them. Do you want to listen to Nirvana now? How about now? Anyway, I imagine that a system of rating applied to everything would give some interesting results. There's the social dimension: who rates things like you do? There's the qualitative dimension: what is universally regarded as good?

Then there might be a predictive aspect too. This person has produced good stuff in the past, therefore, her current work might be good too. There's a simple reputation system already in place based on authorship. Boing Boing has acheived sufficient whuffie that I will gladly read anything they publish, for example. Slashdot used to be better than it is, although I still read it because I don't want to miss anything. I regard Groklaw highly but don't always understand it.

Of course it would be a pain to rate stuff all the time unless it became next to unconscious. I think in, "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom," people had some sort of mind-linked rater/whuffie checker.

Actually, I just thought of something. Maybe the ratings wouldn't be absolute but relative. I mean, if you were obsessed with something, you could just sit there up-modding (or down-modding) it all day. On the other hand, your ratings wouldn't be worth much in that case. I suppose low quality ratings would lower your own whuffie, thus reducing your influence. A million up mods from you secret admirer wouldn't be much help to anyone either.

So we've stumbled on another dimension here. The weight of each rating should be tied to the reputation of the rater.

Wow. Millbrae already (I wrote this on my evening commute by train from Sunnyvale to San Francisco). I've killed 45 minutes blathering on this detritus. I wonder ir getting a haircut makes me more creative.

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