[cap-talk] Killer App -- Wiki with Reputation Tracking
toby.murray at dsto.defence.gov.au
Sun Dec 11 20:48:53 EST 2005
I've been thinking recently about the idea that people really want a
killer app, not an ideological sermon. With that in mind, I'd be curious
to get people's ideas on the following idea of a "killer app".
The motivation comes from the recent debate over Wikipedia (something
I'm not overfly familiar with). To summarise, there's been issues with
pages that pertain to individuals being edited anonymously to contain
defamatory remarks. In response they've disallowed anonymous users from
being able to create new entries (but still allow them to edit existing
I was reading an article on the above from here
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051211-5739.html that stated "The
fact of the matter is that as long as Wikipedia allows contributions
from unknown people, Wikipedia cannot claim to be an accurate resource
because a good faith effort to police content isn't the same thing as
editorial oversight. The implication that everyone comes to Wikipedia
with the same (neutral and honest) agenda cannot be sustained by the
evidence in question. No, we can only talk about trends and tendencies."
I immediately took issue with this, thinking "You don't need to identify
individual contributers. They can still be anonymous -- in the sense
that you can't match them to an identity in the 'real world'. You just
need to attach a reputation to each contributer, with unidentified
contributers ("guests") having a reputation of zero. You then need to
mark the edits with the repuation of the editor. People who view the
page can then mark the quality of individual edits. Of course, it might
make sense to not show the identity of an editor to a user who is
ranking the quality of an edit, in order to ensure that the only
information available to them when making the decision is the actual
Something like this would be very implementable on top of the current
Waterken distribution, no?
Furthermore, attaching reputation markers to identities (which are
themselves just a set of reachable capabilities from some root), then
provides a natural stimulus for users to make intelligent decisions
about sharing authority.
This would allow a demonstration and (hopefully) proof against the "caps
suck because the right to hold a cap naturally implies the right to pass
it on" view. User's have *incentive* not to pass on caps becuase it'll
affect their reputation, and therfore, the cridiblity of their edits and
consequently their ability to have a meaningful effect on the wiki.
Of course, the above really amounts to adding reputation to Pelle's
widewords implementation, which already tracks edits of the same
capablity against the one identity (defined at the time the cap is
created). In that sense, it's not a huge idea, but I think it might
create some cool emergent effects.
To me, it's this sort of thing that'll be required in order to sell
caps-on-the-web (eg. web-calculus etc.)
Advanced Computer Capabilities Group
Information Networks Division
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