Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Desert Island Rule

Much discussion of reputation, what it is, what it isn't on the ID Gang list.

I propose the following test for whether a given attribute can have a reputation aspect.

Were the entity in question to be located on a desert island with no social contact with others, would the value of the attribute in question be impacted?

If I was on a deserted island with no social interactions, it would make no sense to talk about my reputation for trustworthiness or dependability (both admittedly recently at all time lows) because there would be nobody else with whom my interactions could be assessed for trustworthiness. Likewise, a business wouldn't be able to develop a reputation for courteous customer service if it was stuck on the island and unable to service its customers.

On the other hand, my age or weight (although I do expect I'd lose some weight, all the Survivor contestants do, which would be nice) on that island would be the same as if I was at home - they are not social constructs. Consequently, I can't have a reputation for being either 44 years old or 165 lbs (ahem).


Radovan Semancik said...

I don't think that you are right.

I do not see any substantial difference between following two proposition:

"Paul is 44 years old"
"Paul is trustworthy"

I think that both of them should be regarded as opinions. In this case Paul's opinions about himself. And both should have assigned probability that they are true. Or better to say Bayesian probability. And that may be even subjective as well. Paul may be trustworthy for his friends, but not to strangers from over across the world.

Maybe Paul is in fact untrustworthy 16 years old girl? Who knows?

"Reputation" is really a bad word when we talk about data.

Paul Madsen said...

Radovan, for me the difference is that, for my age, there is an objective truth, quite independent of what others may think about the matter. Some may guess low, some high, but there is a real value regardless

But my trustworthiness exists only as a subjective assessment by others - there can be no objective trustworthiness in a social vacuum.



Radovan Semancik said...

Your age may be an objective fact. But the statement "Paul is 44 years old" is not a fact, it is an information. And there is no such thing as objective information. Any information is subjective. By its very nature.

Maybe there's a difference for you, but nobody else can see the difference. And as we are talking about sharing of information, the "others" are the entities that matter, not "you".


BTW, I'm quite sure you do not remember the even of your birth. Are you 100% sure about your age? Even for you your age is just an information. Maybe provided to you by a very trusted source, but it is still only an information. It is subjective; which means: it may be deformed by perception or will of the information source.

Anonymous said...

strange how we both think that we have consensus opinion on our sides ....