Some thoughts connecting themselves in my mind:
Online, there are lots of ways of building up credit to oneâ€™s advantage:
1. Forum - number of posts (benefit: weâ€™re more inclined to listen to you )
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 (donâ€™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 â€œreturnâ€ on your online â€œworkâ€. They are just internet interpretations of â€œreal worldâ€ versions like credit history, experience/seniority, popularityâ€¦
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 â€“ theyâ€™re all the same User/pw, but itâ€™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 Iâ€™m online anywhere else I get irritated by having to log in to everything. I know there are various schemes like .NET â€œpassportâ€ â€“ but I think there should be more of an effort into finding a portable means of logging into oneâ€™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 digressâ€¦)
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 adsâ€¦ I dunno, thinking out loud here.
Is this a good idea? â€“ possible/ feasible? Been tried before?
The fourth part of my thought is: abuse.
On Kazaa anyone worth their salt is already â€œPL 1000â€; Iâ€™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 counterâ€¦
Could what Iâ€™m suggesting ever be controlled / policed?
And could it be â€œabusedâ€ in more â€œlegitimateâ€ ways? If you got â€œe-karmaâ€ 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 â€˜botsâ€™ 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 couldnâ€™t use the system with Windows.
Other contra arguments I anticipate are:
Where does the data get stored? Youâ€™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 â€œlow riskâ€ parts of the internet. When you logged in, you could â€œbecomeâ€ 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 â€“ and maybe share out and decide where to place your credit. In similar style, you could have more than one identity if you wanted â€“ 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?