Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Federated reputation would facilitate digital community growth

Federated identity (e.g.; basically signing in just once on the Internet, not having to enter a user id and password for every site) is still stalled but maybe federated reputation networks could work.

Most people would probably like to merge and leverage the reputations they have worked on earning for themselves in different virtual communities from eBay/Amazon/on-line selling to Second Life/World of Warcraft/online metaverse worlds and gaming to serving the community such as answering questions at AllExperts, etc. to professional ecosystem reputations and blogs.

Right now, in each new web community, a reputation must be painstakingly built. If community members could bring their reputations with them, via some sort of validation mechanism, essentially a digital referral network, they could more quickly harness their capability and ramp up their participation in new communities. For example, the P2P digital lending space is just taking off and activity could be hastened if community members could bring rather than have to build their reputations.

Cory Doctorow has a humorous and prescient look at this concept in his 2003 book "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" as people attempt to maximize whuffie (reputation) points rather than status/money as is the current societal norm.