05 September 2009

Trust tools on the web

Following the launch of WikiTrust Wired discusses the options for establishing trust in user generated content and describes how Wikipedia rejected the idea of user ratings (à la Amazon or eBay) and instead computes the 'durability' of authors' contributions, colour coding the text accordingly. Sensitively, they are not displaying the reputations of individual authors, to avoid putting off new contributors (particularly important as Wikipedia seems to be stabilising to include a core of elite editors whose contributions have a high probability of sticking, compared to less frequent editors whose contributions tend to be edited out).

Technology Review also discusses WikiTrust and W3C's POWDER (Protocol for Web Description Resources), which can incorporate trustmarks, and among other things, will point to the author of the documents (back to Howard Rheingold and crap detection). Despite these tools, PARC researcher, Ed Chi, is pessimistic about people's willingness to authenticate web content, and points to the limited progress in other areas such as teaching people to avoid phishing scams, or to only use secure sites to enter credit card information.

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