Re: anonymous collaborative filtering

From: Mitch Howe (
Date: Mon Sep 23 2002 - 16:41:25 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "James Rogers" <>

> >
> > But with any kind of system like this there is a potential for abuse by
> > people who take out multiple accounts, either to artificially inflate
> > value of their opinions or to get around flagging limitations.
> One way to manage this is to weight any points given to a post by a
> person's reputation based on previous posts. This encourages not just
> contribution, but contribution that has good value. People who post
> things that garner lots of points will in turn be able to have more
> impact on the scoring of the posts of others.
> This sets a barrier of entry on a new account such that a person won't
> be able to significantly moderate other people's posts until they've
> made some worthwhile contributions of their own. Among other things, it
> minimizes the value of having multiple accounts so that you can
> astroturf your stats.

I think this would work well for more the most intellectual and
scientific-style forums. I'm not so sure it would be appropriate for more
rough-and-tumble forums of popular/political discourse, where it would be
best to simply make it very difficult for one person to hold more than one
account. The main reason I say this is that the nature of a forum changes
as it ages; a newcomer to a very mature forum may have trouble finding new
things to add, but this doesn't mean that they don't understand the issues
well enough to render meaningful judgment of a post.

And in any case where different users have more points to dole out than
other users, it would be best to limit the disproportionate impact. For
example, it might be wholly appropriate for a newbie with only one slightly
scored post to have only a 10th the voting power of a veteran poster. But
it would not be appropriate for a veteran poster to be trumped by a godlike
veteran who happens to have 10 times more weight than the "average" veteran.
In other words, the weight would have to max out pretty early on, perhaps
requiring that the user to meet some sort of maintenance level of regular
participation to hold this status.

But weighted systems are subject to their own breed of manipulation. E-Bay
cartels are the most notorious example I can think of -- playing off the
all-important "feedback" feature.

--Mitch Howe

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