Principles of Reputation

One of my past professors, Phil Windley, posted some principles of reputation:

  • Reputation is one of the factors upon which trust is based
  • Reputation is someone else’s story about me – this means that I can’t control what you say about me although I may be able to affect the factors you based your story on. Also, every person should be able to have their own story about me.
  • Reputation exists in the context of community – this is different than saying “communities have a reputation about someone.”
  • Reputation is based on identity – reputation, as someone else’s story, isn’t part of your identity, but is based on an identity or set of identities.
  • Reputation is a currency – while you can’t change it, reputation can be used as a resource. Paul Resnick has a paper showing the value of a positive eBay reputation.
  • Reputation is narrative – you have to apply metaphor to interpret, reputation is dynamic becase the factors that affect it are always changing, reputation may require weaving together of plot lines.
  • Reputation is based on claims (verified or not), transactions, ratings, and endorsements. – this brings up the issue of evidence, recourse for slander or mistakes, etc.
  • Reputation is muti-level – a reputation isn’t just based on facts, but is also based on other’s beliefs about the target of that reputation. This requires some way of signaling beliefs to others.
  • Mutiple people holding the same opinion increases the weight o that opinion – repeat behavior is also another way of weighting reputation.