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One-dimensional Reputation Is Meaningless (diegobasch.com)
57 points by zohaibr on Mar 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

Just because you can't measure the ambient temperature in liters doesn't mean the liter is a useless metric.

FWIW, Cory Doctorow already dealt with this issue in "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom". In it, the measure of social capital is called Whuffie, and there were multiple scores based on it. Mentioned in the book were:

- absolute Whuffie (Which, contrary to the article's title, is meaningful. An absolute measure of clout is what's being implied by the observation that everyone knows who Barack Obama is, and the number of people who know much about me can be measured in the dozens.)

- 'right-handed' Whuffie, which is a measure of a person's reputation among people you regard highly. Think "personalized Google results."

- 'left-handed' Whuffie, which measures a person's reputation among people you regard poorly.

I disagree. My beef with Klout is that it measures authority using the wrong sources. I keep giving a real-life example[1] that everyone gets wrong. My friend is a Vice-President at Google. He doesn't tweet (he has better things to do, frankly). His Klout score is -- none --. Somehow, I believe he is more influential than me :-)

I did write an influence algorithm for a previous startup in which that same friend was getting a great score. So it's possible to get it right. Klout doesn't.

What Klout gets right is self-promotion: twitter addicts will tweet and retweet their influence, thus promoting Klout. Smart play by Klout.

[1] http://blog.foundrs.com/2011/08/18/why-klout-sheds-no-light-...

The point is that "authority" or "influence" without context doesn't mean much. Your friend is Vice-President at Google. So, how influential/authoritative is he in the world of sports? How influential is Roger Federer in the tech world? Would you rather have Ashton Kutcher as an investor or, say, Paul Graham?

One number won't tell you the information you need to answer these questions.

so you are against the idea that every person should have a single number irreversibly associated with them, and which represents their intrinsic worth as a human being?

Bonus points if the number is so formed that corporations can extract the age, race, sex and nationality of the product, er, users.

Claiming that Klout is "meaningless" is a misleading way to convey his point. The author really means to say that measuring influence in more than one area would be better in some situations than a single score. However, given that a large number of people use Klout, and some people get free stuff just for using Klout, it certainly has meaning.

While knowing the horsepower, dimensions, top speed, and durability of a car would certainly be better for some people than a simple "car score", that "car score" might in fact be useful to a large number of people.

It's all about context and trust. Without both it's all pretty meaningless.

This is something I've given a lot of thought to and I'm working on implementing such a system.

Here's hoping that theory keeps holding up to reality.

I used to have a 12 dimensional reputation until spacetime cooled and I had to take on this 3 dimensional one and discard my lizard form.

Is your reputation recognized across the 4 different corner harmonic 24 hour Days rotate simultaneously within a single 4 quadrant rotation of a squared equator and cubed Earth.

Heresy! The earth is a tesseract, everybody knows that.

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