Sunday, September 23, 2007

Persona, reputation and VRM

One thing that should jump out from the previous post on modeling reputation is that there's nothing called "reputation" in the proposed model. This is not a complete accident. Reputation is a very subjective thing, both in that one's reputation will vary depending on whom one asks, and in that it can be reckoned in any number of different ways. What the model models is not reputation itself, but the elements from which one might derive a reputation.

There is, however, a very prominent piece called "persona". From a VRM standpoint, as I understand VRM, this is the piece we want to break out and re-use. In the stock example of movie preferences, I might like to share my "movie buff" persona amongst the IMDB and the various online vendors, so that whenever I notice something anywhere and comment on it, or rent a movie, everyone knows about it. Renting or reviewing a movie is an action on the part of my "movie buff" persona.

Under this model, I will have different reputations with different vendors, even if they see the exact same information about my persona, because they will draw different conclusions from the same facts.

It occurs to me that there is a different, more Web 2.0-ish notion of reputation as a network of people's ratings, other people's ratings of their ratings, and so forth. There is probably a useful analogue to page rank in web sites to be had here, for example.

That's cool stuff, but for my money it's one particular way of deriving a reputation from the public acts of a persona.

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