Yishay Mor  
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Reputocracy and Intelectual Persona
[so-so, web2.0]

A few more thought on Radical transparency.

I've always thought of open content / social technologies as democratic, or democratizing. But maybe what we're seeing is the rise of a new form of social structure: Reputocracy: governance by reputation. There's only one rule to this regime: the more you invest, the more your voice counts. Its a market based system, with a single currency - reputation. This is a tricky currency, because it does not obey conservation laws. Therefore, investment is calculated by the amount of capital you have times the risk you take.

For example, if Jimmy Wales writes "I hate french fries" in an email to a college friend, he's not really risking much. Hence that expression does not go far as an investment. If he writes "I hate MicroSoft" in his bio entry, he's in for a hell of a ride. So anything Jimbo says on wikipedia will have a huge impact. Never mind his formal role in the system. On the other hand, I can say whatever I want where ever I want and few people would give a hoot. I simply don't have that much reputation capital to begin with.

As with any economy, some investments pay off, others don't. And as with money economy, if I invest in you and you come good, we're both better off.

The other issue that came to mind is intellectual property. That's always a pain in open-source / open-content environments. Also, always a pain to figure out why people contribute where they can't capitalize. Perhaps, in a an extremely transparent system, we're more concerned about intellectual persona. Property is a funny thing with goods that are expensive to produce and cheep to replicate. Ask the music industry. But what if we can verify where a meme started? Then claiming possession of someone else's ideas is just, uh, too embarrassing. Let's say I post a great idea on my blog. Let's say you copy it, develop it, and get a noble prize for it. Let's say you forgot to mention where you first read it. All I need to do is post a link to digg. Now who's looking stupid?

posted by Yishay Mor on Monday 22nd, January 2007 (14:55) - comments (0) - permanent link


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