Some thoughts connecting themselves in my mind:

Online, there are lots of ways of building up credit to one’s advantage:

  1. Forum - number of posts (benefit: we’re more inclined to listen to you :bow: )
  2. Slashdot Karma (more straightforward benefits)
  3. Ebay / QXL feedback ratings (people are more likely to trade with high rating bidders/ sellers)
  4. Kazaa number of files shared rating (don’t fully understand what effect this has, but do you get some sort of priority over other users?)

In some way or another, these all give you a “return” on your online “work”. They are just internet interpretations of “real world” versions like credit history, experience/seniority, popularity…

What I want is a way for all these different bits of accumulated good credit to combine into one universal rating system.

The second thing I thought about was the irritation of signing in to all the different sites I regularly access for email, forums, news, shopping etc. I must have over a hundred different logins for different sites – they’re all the same User/pw, but it’s still a shag to have to do it. Hence the popularity of Gator :Z for improving the already fairly good abilities of IE recognising sites and remembering your password / cookies.
Essentially this is not a problem on my home PC, but when I’m online anywhere else I get irritated by having to log in to everything. I know there are various schemes like .NET “passport” – but I think there should be more of an effort into finding a portable means of logging into one’s sites. (maybe a fingerprint checker with every computer, and that is your internet means of verification for everything, and ports all of your local windoze profile, but I digress…)

So I want to combine the first and second thoughts into something that unites the concept of online credit/ karma with the idea of an internet passport. So that you log in once, and you are thenceforth recognised wherever you go online, and all your credit of one form or another is pooled into benefits and respeck for your online identity, and that credit is recognised everywhere. High ranking users would have access to more pages, reciprocal free subscriptions, faster downloads, increasing immunity from ads… I dunno, thinking out loud here.

Is this a good idea? – possible/ feasible? Been tried before?

The fourth part of my thought is: abuse.
On Kazaa anyone worth their salt is already “PL 1000”; I’m sure half of the high ranking Ebay sellers are staging fake auctions so they can give good feedback to themselves; admins on forums modifying their post counter…
Could what I’m suggesting ever be controlled / policed?

And could it be “abused” in more “legitimate” ways? If you got “e-karma” from donating to free sites using paypal, could the richer people turn this into a sort of de facto tiered subscription service, where they would pour money into various donations/subs and then receive a better service?
Or if you :a got credit for visiting ad sites or watching commercials, would this spoil the whole thing, or even would it be counter-abused by people making ‘bots’ to simulate activity?

I suppose another major argument AGAINST is that it would inevitably be controlled by M$. Unless the linux posse got in there first! It would be a better internet experience, and a concrete reason for people to convert if they couldn’t use the system with Windows.

Other contra arguments I anticipate are:
Where does the data get stored? You’re going to have to pay someone to collect that data.

My final thought is that your e-karma-passport would not necessarily have to be linked to your true identity. Your credit cards, true email addresses, RW name etc would not have to be accessible. Just the “low risk” parts of the internet. When you logged in, you could “become” your avatar. It would make the whole of the internet rather like an MMORPG, but this would have the benefits of being able to convert credit for different types of virtue/ work into different types of advantage, material or otherwise – and maybe share out and decide where to place your credit. In similar style, you could have more than one identity if you wanted – I already do for IM/chat and some forums so I can talk to myself.

So, what do you all think? Just a geeky pipe dream designed to stop me feeling guilty for spending half my life online?


I personally like these ‘rating’ systems. Of course, I don’t share files on KaZaA for obvious reasons (RIAA), but my rating is a constant 1000 thanks to KaZaA Lite K++ :). Usually if a bunch of people are downloading a file, if your rating is higher, the user with the lowest rating gets kicked off so you can get the file .
evil laugh

On eBay, I usually look at feedback before I bid (I have no negatives :D), but not often. This is a good way to see how the person does commerce and whatnot.

Whereas in the forums, I personally don’t care about how many posts a user has. If I know that they usually have good and accurate information, I will listen and usually research it myself. Plus, other users will post whether they know it is a true.flase fact or solution.

But yes, there are many ways to cheat these systems ;). A like the idea of having a universal ‘passport’.


Originally posted by cmr2003x
like the idea of having a universal ‘passport’.

you and microsoft both. consolidation is the death of creativity.


Originally posted by ckin2001
consolidation is the death of creativity.

But it works In Real Life - international diplomacy is all about consolidation to increase freedom and efficiency - free trade between countries, free movement with a single passport without needing visas, the EU etc etc

By comparison, the internet, where you need to keep identifying yourself laboriously at every turn, feels like a police state without the police.


Originally posted by DryBaboon
consolidation to increase freedom

freedom is not having to consolidate.


Originally posted by ckin2001
freedom is not having to consolidate.

My point is that with all the constant logging in, passwords, session cookies etc etc of M$ and the internet, this is an irritant. I mean freedom as in freedom - ease - of movement.

Am I correct in thinking people’s aversion to the “consolidation” I suggest is because a single net passport would provide no opt out? This indeed would be a restriction of freedom in a sense, but I wonder if it might work - indeed, it might be unavoidable anyway. If a universal net passport was immune to malicious use then I don’t think it would impede freedom.

However, the way things are going in the USA with the “patriot act” and “total information awareness” i suppose I’m being overly optimistic.

The world is steadily getting more like the paranoid plot of a computer game.