Joho the Blog » Meme alert: Reputational democracy

Meme alert: Reputational democracy

Simon Willis of Cisco’s Public Sector group and I were talking last week. I was saying that if the new administration were to create a civic social networking site, casual decisions by software designers could deeply affect democracy. For example, if the designers were to use a reputation system as a way of enabling the millions of conversations to scale, civic leaders might emerge for topics based upon a reputation system that is sensitive to small changes in software functionality — rate people on a scale of 1-10 or just with a thumbs up or thumbs down? Weight the ratings based on the rater’s own reputation?

Simon replied that this would be an interesting case of reputational democracy.

I sort of love this term. And it only gets three hits (1 2 3) at Google.

You heard it here first! Well, fourth.

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9 Responses to “Meme alert: Reputational democracy”

  1. Sounds like Whuffie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie (inventor Cory Doctorow).

  2. Maybe this is naive but wouldn’t there be a certain amount of face validity afforded by the transparency of such a system? Allowing it to self heal and adapt?

  3. I’m not arguing against such a system. In fact, I’d love to see one. And transparency would be a really important part of it, I assume. I’m only saying that small changes made by sw engineers could have important effects on how this new element of democracy works. And really what I was doing was trying to introduce Simon’s term, “reputational democracy.”

    FWIW, I posted about this very topic here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-weinberger/the-power-of-small-featur_b_128401.html

  4. Meme indeed!

    This on wikinomics today!

    http://www.wikinomics.com/blog/index.php/2008/11/12/the-reputation-economy-and-government/

    Are you two in cahoots?

  5. Meme indeed

    This on wikinomics today:

    http://www.wikinomics.com/blog/index.php/2008/11/12/the-reputation-economy-and-government/

    are you 2 in cahoots?

  6. sorry not quite the same term (so i guess not quite worthy of meme-ness) but im given to seeing patterns before detail then getting excited then posting then retracting posts and qualifying them.
    And finally getting back to work.

  7. Thanks for pointing me in this direction Hugh.

    If I’m thinking about this correctly, there are two paths – which hopefully will both be taken.

    One sees citizens as core to the decision-making process, ideating with employees, in a network as noted by David and others. Think Peer-to-Patent but on policy issues, on priorities, etc. Change.gov won’t just take idea submissions but would rather let folks talk amongst themselves on what’s needed, what ideas are best, etc etc. And importantly, it should eventually see gov employees participate in those conversations. It’s not just a new form of engagement but rather also a form of process redesign in the actual job of civil servant.

    The other is about service delivery and service transformation – where introducing competition in what is a largely monopolistic environment could leverage reputation to improve public value. I’m not talking outright privatization but rather an Amazon-like set of government APIs that allow third parties to distribute and serve the citizen, and allow the citizen to choose on the basis of the reputation of the provider. As a colleague noted to me “the closer service delivery is held to government, the more difficult it will be to use reputation as a means to improve.” but even within government reputation may allow a means of re-inventing the incentive and management structures to incent change, innovation and a certain level of risk tolerance.

    fascinating possibilities.

  8. […] emergence of abundant leadership through the nodes of multiple connected networks, giving rise to reputational democracy in the sphere of government, and in the corporation? How will the reward and hierarchical systems […]

  9. the idea sounds like replacing the traditional political currency of influence – maybe creating a new way of lobbying? lobby 2.0 ? ;-) then access gets more important than pocession. or: “props” are the new black

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