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In psychology and sociology, a trust metric is a measure of how a member of a group is trusted by the other members. Trust metrics may be abstracted in a manner that can be implemeted on computers, making them of interest for the study and engineering of virtual communities, such as Friendster and LiveJournal. Attack resistance is an important property of trust metrics which reflects their ability to handle agents who participate in bad faith (i.e. who aim to abuse the presumption of trust).

The first forms of trust metrics in computer software were in applications like eBay's Feedback Rating. Slashdot introduced its notion of karma, earned for activities perceived to promote group effectiveness, that has been very influential in later virtual communities.

The free software developer resource Advogato is based on a novel approach to attack resistant trust metrics of Raph Levien. Levien observed that Google's PageRank algorithm can be understood to be an attack resistant trust metric rather similar to that behind Advogato. Levien also proposes a trust metric for Wikipedia to aid quality control and to minimize the effects of Wikipedia:Vandalism.

Trust Metrics Wiki is a Wiki whose goal is to review, understand, code and compare on same data all the trust metrics proposed so far.

The proposal for Wikipedia is to add a "Rate this change!" feature. Each change could be rated on a -3 to +3 scale.

-3 : This user should be banned.

-2 :

-1 : Change has some minor problems, but nothing serious.

0  : no opinion

1  : slight improvement (grammar fix, small factual error)

2  : big improvement

3  : major contribution, verified to be correct

Then, users who themselves collect many "highly rated changes" would be able to bestow such status on others. However, to prevent people from just falsely rating each other highly, you just have to make sure that someone can only have a high rating themselves after earning it from someone trustworthy.

The important thing is to start collecting the data. After that, it should be very easy to calculate who is trustworthy.

Also notice that a "no opinion" rating would still be useful. It would mean that someone inspected the change and found no egregious errors or sabotage.

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