COMsumers

Unbound Spiral: Reputation Genio

January 9, 2003 11:20 AM

I've been looking at Genio and again PINGID. I've read the Genio Protocol mission statement, an element I repeat here.

"Reputation >> shall mean any collection of information about your Digital Identity, whether positive or negative, which shall serve to inform others of their opinions about your Digital Identities. Reputation shall serve as a foundation for trusted interactions between Digital Identities.

Then under a section called rights:

"RIGHT TO AN ACCURATE REPUTATION >> You have the right to have an accurate Reputation. You agree that your Reputation is a result of your actions and communications and of others vouching for those actions and communications. As a consequence of the right to an accurate Reputation, You agree that our Reputation may become either positive or negative. You have the right to carry aspects of your Reputation with your Digital Identity or to refuse to carry aspects of your Reputation with your Digital Identity. However, as a consequence of refusing to carry all or part of your Reputation with your Digital Identity, others have the right to not interact with You or your Digital Identities, or to do so in a limited or restricted manner without being considered discriminatory."

This approach to "Reputation" and the words used personally make my skin crawl. I have a sense that this conversation --- is not one taking place in human voices. This is closer to an accounting discussion. These types of reputation measures may well destroy creativity and the ability to speak out.

If you don't believe me a quick example from eBay learnings. My observation is most sellers wait until the buyer has left positive feedback. The words above that relate to positive or negative reputations... Are we implying it is no longer safe to have an opinion? No longer safe to be on the edge of conformity? Because +ve -ve is too black and white. The very words illustrate that there is only one ranking. As humans... we have to believe there is some good in everyone somewhere. This statement above fails to protects us.

At the same time feedback dimensions enable us to learn and that's important. Really, think about it. If I hold a transaction with a company and they want to add reputation / servicing statictics to it. I have no problem with that. What I want is the record. If the record is extended to me then it goes in my file. If I want to share that with another I can. Afterall It's my record too. To one company it may represent danger, to another opportunity. The companies and Genio suggest that if something is missing it is incomplete or the info provider (the customer) in this case is intending to deceive. It isn't black or white.

There will be both our data profiles... added to what we know about ourselves (human profiles) and their knowledge profiles... what they think they know about me. Just like the credit report... their profile might not be correct. Somehow I doubt a lawyer wrote this. Neither did a PR mavrick. Both would use different words.

It's in words like these that concepts are stuck. Frankly the Genio Protocol, sounds like a Ludlum or Clancy thriller. I just hope the bad guys don't win. I am also sure some smart guys wrestled with this.

I think the problem is they favor structured - data driven profiles. My challenge is for them to think similarly about creating environment for emergent, chaotic, complex profiles to emerge. Profiles that accelerate the learning of both parties. The transaction accumulator model for profiles is dead, unworkable, and unlikely to scale