Sunday, September 23, 2007

Refining the persona/reputation model

Previously I asked whether it was worth breaking up the M:N relation between personae and attributes. My personal bias is to break these up whenever there's a natural name for the resulting link or (and this is closely correlated) whenever the link might naturally have relations outside the two linked entities. My further bias is that this is generally true.

I also asked whether opinions are different from other assertions.

I think these can both be answered by dropping attribute, action and opinion, adding
  • An assertion is a claim made by a persona
and reworking the relations as follows:
  • A person (1) assumes an identity (N)
  • An identity (1) is assumed at a time (N)
  • An identity (N) is as a persona (1)
  • A persona (1) makes an assertion (N)
  • An assertion (N) is made at a time (1)
  • An assertion (1) is about a persona (0 .. N)
Instead of attributes, actions and opinions, we have various assertions, e.g.,
  • I assert (at time t) that the sky is blue (plain assertion, not about anyone)
  • I assert that I am handsome (one way of bestowing an attribute)
  • I assert that my friend is homely (another way)
  • My friend asserts that my opinion can't be trusted
  • My bank asserts that I made a deposit this morning (assertion of an action)
  • I assert (at time t+1) that the sky is not blue (changing my opinion)
This model is probably missing a key ingredient or two, particularly a means of granting access to assertions, but it seems enough to support reputations. E.g., if I assert that I have $1,000,000 in the bank but my bank asserts I have $0, that will influence my reputation. Reputations can be built both by tying assertions to the outside world (You're convinced that my bank is trustworthy) or by studying the relationships between them (X has a history of lying about his bank account).

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