About MIT Press Ebooks
The Reputation Society
In making decisions, we often seek advice. Online, we check Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors’ histories, TripAdvisor ratings, and even our elected representatives’ voting records. These online reputation systems serve as filters for information overload. In this book, experts discuss the benefits and risks of such online tools.
The contributors offer expert perspectives that range from philanthropy and open access to science and law, addressing reputation systems in theory and practice. Properly designed reputation systems, they argue, have the potential to create a “reputation society,” reshaping society for the better by promoting accountability through the mediated judgments of billions of people. Effective design can also steer systems away from the pitfalls of online opinion sharing by motivating truth-telling, protecting personal privacy, and discouraging digital vigilantism.
About the Editors
Hassan Masum is a policy and technology strategist and Affiliate Researcher at the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo.
Mark Tovey is an Affiliate Researcher at the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo. He is the editor of Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.
"By giving the reader a broad understanding of the positive and negative aspects of reputation systems out there, [The Reputation Society] touches upon almost all aspects of society affected by these online systems. Many of the authors also discuss next steps in how to improve reputation systems or restructure them to allow them to better serve the public good, whether it be in the realm of science, philanthropy, or justice."—Journal of High Technology Law
"The book contains a collection of essays exploring the development of online reputations from some of the field’s leading experts and even a few thoughts from Internet pioneers like Craig Newmark, of craigslist.com fame .... Building reputation systems is the easy part. Figuring out the benefits and downfalls of their proliferation is where things get tricky, particularly because there are ratings systems that are useful, and some that are a lot less helpful."—The Londoner
"The carefully collected essays in this timely book provide readers with intelligent, multidisciplinary insights into the roles reputation and trust play in social systems...Overall, this book offers a very accessible yet rigorous introduction to reputation systems, while also covering several important subjects in great detail."—ACM Computing Reviews
"The premise of this book is an interesting one—not that reputation in itself is intrinsically valuable and thus worth pursuing, but that the structure of the online universe, the Internet in all its forms, is actually changing the way individuals and organizations are being perceived and treated....A very interesting book..."—World Future Review
"As our societies expand from local villages to global networks, our ways of assessing and sharing reputation—the foundation of trust and community—must also evolve, but how? The thoughtful and thought-provoking essays in The Reputation Society bring a wide range of perspectives to this question, including the design of technological solutions, applications in philanthropy, science and governance, and warnings about the loss of privacy and autonomy. It is a fascinating collection of readings not only for scholars, but for anyone interested in the dynamics of the reviews and recommendations that shape our decisions—or in the future of how we will judge and be judged."
—Judith Donath, Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
"Today is tomorrow's yesterday. These provocative essays, by some of the leading thinkers in the domain of reputation systems, illuminate how reputations regulate actions across time and social distance and point to the opportunities and obstacles that reputation systems present for commerce and democracy."
—Paul Resnick, Professor, University of Michigan School of Information
"The Reputation Society enriches the discussion of reputation by bringing together technologists, philosophers, legal scholars, and industry leaders to sort through the promise and perils we face today. It covers the practical, for those interested in the nuts and bolts of the challenges we face today, and the theoretical, for those looking to engage in broader discussions of the ethical and moral concerns. In short, a terrific and enlightening read!"
—Danielle Keats Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law