Reputation metrics

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Reputation metrics are systems to measure and track trustworthiness, social capital, popular influence, or other kinds of social value.

Exisiting Systems

Penguincon, an open source and science-fiction convention, uses an informal currency (named 'Whuffie' after Cory Doctorow's fiction) to allocate compensation for volunteer work.

The name Whuffie was also used by a 2009 TechCrunch non-profit startup, The Whuffie Bank, which sought to compensate people for making valuable contributions to the Internet.[1] Intent was detailed in a manifesto posted online. As of 2012, the company and site are defunct.

The Sims Online had an ingame reputation system, which was heavily abused to extort in-game money from new arrivals.[2]

Design Problems and Criticism

Algorithmic bias is often pointed to as a major problem with proposed or implemented systems, due to the difficulty of balancing a precise definion of social value with assumptions about what is desirable in pursuit of it.

In Popular Culture

Whuffie, a fictional reputation system used by the post-scarcity Bitchun Society in Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Truncat, is used to allocate resources that are not freely reproducible, such as access to higher-status social spaces. 'Whuffie' is also used in passing to refer to gaining general social goodwill in Eastern Standard Tribe

In Glasshouse by Charles Stross, a social ranking system is used as part of a social control scheme in an isolated community. Deductions of how the system works lead some to "score-whore" as a strategy, aggressively collaborating to gain higher standing.

External Links


  1. TC50: Meet The Whuffie, A New Currency That's Based On Your Online Reputation - Jason Kincaid, TechCrunch (September 15, 2009)
  2. A reputation for extortion - Michael Simon, The Guardian (November 11, 2009)