The Need for Positive Repuations

Marc Horowitz marc at MIT.EDU
Fri Dec 18 14:53:18 PST 1992

Go read Ender's Game.  They had a seriously electronic society.  There
were public message boards, and positive-reputation-based boards.
Basically, if you demonstrated a clue on the public boards, then
someone already reputable could recommend you for "membership" in the
reputation-based boards.  One of the characters did so anonymously.
She even got paid for writing editorials, etc.  Anybody could watch
the proceeedings of the reputeable boards.  In time, she was competing
in debates with major politicians, et. al.  Sci-fi?  or Reality?  I
believe we could move from the former to the latter.  (And I just
avoided any sort of spoiler about the plot ;-)

Imagine a system where spaf distributed the public key of the
moderator(s) of a moderated newgroup.  News servers would make sure
that the message was signed by the moderator, or that the poster
included some sort of certificate, signed by the moderator, indicating
that he could post without having to go through the moderator first.
Expirations and/or revocation lists would be needed to do things
right, but these are problems with fairly good solutions.


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