Sell me on the idea of rep networks with monolithic ideologies

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TheGrue TheGrue's picture
Sell me on the idea of rep networks with monolithic ideologies

I've been thinking about this a lot ever since I first picked up Eclipse Phase, and I don't know if I completely buy it. I don't see a lot of examples in the present day that aren't super niche; once a social network platform reaches critical mass, it seems like it can support a range of subcommunities with diverse ideological stances.

Are there any modern-day analogues to EP rep networks?

In the context of EP rep networks, would Facebook be a network?

Is reddit a single network, or a collection of networks divided along ideological lines? Or is each subreddit a network?

Is 4chan a network? Or is it a collection of boards that are each an individual network?

Are rep networks possibly just an abstraction?

Maybe I'm just thinking about it the wrong way, but the more I think about how rep networks are portrayed the less sense it seems to make. Anyone have any insights?

Thermonuclear Banana Split - A not-really-weekly Eclipse Phase campaign journal.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Whilst tee is brewing...

Have to be quick:

Iirc the Rep scores are based across multiple multiple platforms and data types.
Closest real world example would be that your Rep is extrapolated from your Facebook & subreddit activities, youtube comments, forum posts, Yelp reviews... all of it.

Any particular distinctions come from the way your muse (or dedicated softeware, not sure which) colates and weights the data.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
I'm actually a little

I'm actually a little confused on the subject. You say you're not sure you buy "monolithic" ideology for Rep networks, but then talk about how social networks tend to be specialized and super "niche" - but are also ideologically diverse? Is there a typo in there somewhere, a double negative? If an actual singular social networking or network element is focused on something "niche" then it's ethos is probably fairly singular. But if a large community can sub-divide while still being on the same "network" then it's a diverse community. I think Rep networks are supposed to be very large and thus diversified.

Example: @-list contains Scum, Extropians, Anarchists and Titanians.

I should not need to go into deep detail about how all those groups should get along like a bag full of cats. The only reason why they're in the same bag is because there are angrier bags of cats out there they get along with even less. (And yes, on an ideological level, Ancoms should get along with large state socialism about as well as they get on with ancaps. However the PC is both capitalist AND large state). The most ideologically unanimous network would probably have been u-rep, but this is not mentioned in the 2E doc (along with e-rep) even though x-rep (another optional rule) has been retained so they may not even be implying Ultimates have a formal network.

What exactly the various networks look like is open to interpretation. Thinking on it, given how important rep is and how interconnected everything is - it's probably a bit like how you can use Facebook or Twitter or Google to sign into anything these days. Your social networking hub probably interconnects with lots of littler services over the mesh which you can interact with people on an have rep interactions. The @-list itself might not handle hosting and curating your entire catalog of personal XP production, but whatever form that service takes is linked directly to your @-list profile so you hear about it when people comment or interact with your work, and your rep is the one that goes up if people find this work to be "reputable". And the rep network probably extracts metadata from that kind of service, so they can turn something like an immense ratio of say, likes to dislikes into a slight uptick in your reputation but for everywhere not Fame rep also probably is not a pure popularity contest, so if all you have is like a cute viral video that's just "You're that guy!". I think there's some ambiguity there so GMs can handle the situation as they need.

This maybe is a subject which could use some clarification as to the style of though - because Black Mirror is a thing now so everybody new will just compare it to that.

H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog
http://ephrep.blogspot.com/

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
The anarchist terrorist group

The anarchist terrorist group (Transplanetary Socialist Alliance?) is probably not universally beloved by the entire @-rep network. I don't think rep networks are monolithic. They are probably very generalized, and represent the increased computer/data-processing technologies allowing for a rough approximation of whether you ought to help out this stranger.

90% of transhumanity died ten years ago, there is a good chance that included most of the folks you know, so you need to depend on something for trying to figure out who to trust and who not to, at least until you rebuild your life.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I view rep networks like an

I view rep networks like an abstraction. It's less something like Facebook or Reddit and more your standing within a community.

So, for an example, I follow a lot of people on twitter with locked accounts and I'm used to seeing folks post on their feed "Hey, this person sent a follow request, are they alright?" I imagine the rep score is kinda like that, except much faster due to muses and people most likely leaving with their muse their opinion of someone.

Not everyone in a network necessarily approves of someone with a high rep score, but it's safe to say most do, and that's all the score means.

eaton eaton's picture
I view it less as ideological

I view it less as ideological unanimity and more as "similar axis of evaluation." In other words, high f-Rep doesn't mean "all famous people respect you." It means, "You rate highly in the ways that people currently think of and measure fame." High r-Rep doesn't mean, "All researchers agree with or like you," just "You are widely published and recognized, and have contributed significantly to your field of study."

When I need to flavor things up, I ask, "What evaluation criteria does this network use to rate and rank its members?" They may not be explicit and formalized, and they may evolve over time, but those distinct ways of valuing are inherent to what I think of as a given "rep network." They also differs wildly between, say, g-Rep and i-Rep and f-Rep. What makes someone "buzz-worthy" is not the same as what makes them a reliable fixer when you need to break the law. And what makes someone a reliable fixer is not the same as what makes them a trustworthy member of a clandestine vigilante group.

This is also why lots of people are members of multiple rep networks; it's not primarily about buying into one particular ideology, although having high rep on one network would indicate that you rank high in its consensus about what is worth tracking.

Tango Tango's picture
The only way a rep-society

The only way a rep-society could function would be for it to be as homogeneous as possible, so yes, i see rep-networks as congregations of specific ideologies. They will intrinsically repel values/ideas that are outside their ideology thus punishing people who think differently. Rep is nothing but a culturally biased opinion on someone in a very specific context. Why you would want to live in an economic system build around this idea is beyond me...that is, if you're not the architect of the said system.

- "Mom's chicken soup, maybe?"

eaton eaton's picture
Quote: The only way a rep

Quote:
The only way a rep-society could function would be for it to be as homogeneous as possible, so yes, i see rep-networks as congregations of specific ideologies.

Not really. Most of us today belong to lots of different "reputation networks" even though they aren't explicitly tracked. And if a very high-profile member of that reputation network were to contact us and ask for a favor, we'd be more likely to offer help than if a rando were making the request.

That doesn't require ideological uniformity inside of each network — just a shared axis on which the rep is based. (Like "fame" or "Research Contributions").

Quote:
They will intrinsically repel values/ideas that are outside their ideology thus punishing people who think differently.

Some will, sure. But I think you're working a very narrow idea of what that means. If I think fame is stupid and parties are a waste of time, I'm probably going to have low (or no) f-rep. Because I'm rejecting the premise that the network exists on — opting out of its conceptual currency. If I believe in centralized authoritarian control of resources, I'm not being 'punished' with low @-rep, I'm just not on board with the system.

But those things don't mean there is uniformity inside of the network. Anarchists and Hypercorp high-rollers could both have high f-rep. Jovians, Brinkers, and Exhumans could all have high g-rep.

UPDATE: Mind you, I"m not arguing that this would be a great/stable economic system. Just that the idea of every rep network being a bucket-of-conformity is based on some misconceptions and oversimplifications of how social groups work.

thepedant thepedant's picture
Don't read too much into it.

I know the corebook text can be read to say that you can determine Rep like in Super Sad True Love Story, where everyone's smartphone told them how rich and how physically attractive they were relative to everyone else, but I think that's a bad way to think of the Rep system.

Rep is meant to stand for the mutual favor and gift giving that happens outside of monetary exchange, something like the ties of family or tribe.

It's flattened to a single number in a small number of categories because otherwise in gameplay terms it's both worthless (you'd almost never have the rep you needed for a particular interaction) and painfully complicated (always have to recalculate exactly where you stand with each sub-faction).

When I play Rep, the number and Networking roll translates to a very specific kind of connection for that particular interaction, not a general "everyone knows you from the Mesh and loves you" score. One G-rep roll might be leveraging the notoriety of the character in a particular prior criminal act to prove "credit-worthiness" to a seller of illegal items. Another might be leaning on an existing agreement between a criminal group the character is at least loosely affiliated with and the criminal group of an NPC the character needs a favor from. The higher your Rep, the more of these connections exist and exist with strength to be relied upon.

Tango Tango's picture
The conclusions I've come to

The conclusions I've come to are drawn from a simple round of game theory. Replace money in any modern society with the rep-system and hit play. How would a shia/sunni -community look from the perspective of reputation? Israeli/ Syrian? Indian/ Pakistani?
To me it looks like this: Ethnic and cultural tensions make people vote their own team out of necessity. If they don't, the other team will, grabbing lion's share of the available resources that can be acquired through rep. So you do it too, so to not the be left in the dust. Power blocks will emerge. This in turn distorts the concept of rep to the breaking point so that no informed conclusions can drawn from it. Is some dude a good guy, or is he just a member of the dominant faction in the community?
You cannot fix this without somehow erasing ethnic & cultural bias. And you can't fix it with AI, since rep is just an opinion. And there are no wrong opinions, right?

What's at play here is the lowest common denominator in human nature: Self-protection which manifests itself in tribalism. You can have your star trek'ish perfect society that operates in a reputation based system, but the moment you bring in a group that will prioritize their own interests, you will be forced to play their game.

- "Mom's chicken soup, maybe?"

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
There are AI that invent

There are AI that invent wormholes (and/or tap into a preexisting network of wormholes), quantum computers cost less than a new body. I think an AI or algorithm that can sort out bad faith rep votes is not an impossibility. Entire criminal networks struggle to game the system, and it is portrayed as something that is no small or easy task that it just happens on its own.

If you can suspend your disbelief for mind/body dualism, alien slime molds in FTL ships, and magic-space-wizards via Asyncs, surely an AI ran system competent enough to prevent people from screwing around with rep couldn't be that hard. Especially since no rep network is so miniature as a single habitat or small enough that it doesn't exceed that primate number where you no longer feel the tribal identity.

The entire point of rep is: your ethnic group and tribal family are all but gone, cold storage or just perma-dead, you encounter someone who belongs to roughly the samd poli group, can you trust them based on mutual values? Rep economies don't do much in densely populated areas. The explanation for their prevalence in the Outer System is explained by the staggeringly low population density in Outer System. Within a tiny hab, sure, power blocs form, but rep isn't for internal economies, thosr are ran on whatever ad hoc committee democracy they all agree to. Rep economies exist so people who on occasion move between these habs can get along.

It is a distillation of networking, social media, and commitment to loose values that are collectively agreed upon. The fact that Extropians (AnCaps), Titanians (Statist cyberdemocratic-socialists), Scum (Anarcho-libertines?), and Anarchists (usually AnCom), all use @-rep goes to show you the diverse opinions that are encompassed by one network.

Without a sufficiently advanced AI and computing power, this would be pretty impossible.

But so is nanotech, wormholes made of lovecraftian horror, slimemolds with FTL, etc etc.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

DocRodgers DocRodgers's picture
My interpritation.

The way I've always seen the Rep networks is that they are the inevitable end result of the switch to Mesh Networks. Since few server farms exist anymore, partially from practicality and partially from a fear of the Titans, websites like Facebook and Google are no longer practical in every day life. The result is, any "sites" that continue to exist have to be built to have bits and pieces of their crucial code spread out across numerous mesh nodes.

The Rep networks, therefore, exist to accomplish several tasks at once. The first is the basic tasks the books lay out, assigning a positive or negative association with certain people or pieces of information, as if it were a social network. The second is handling the bizarre and complicated task of retrieving and assigning information across the many mesh nodes needed to store all the information held across the mesh. A single website or blog may be held within, say, @-list, but that just tells you which routing protocol needed to correctly retrieve that site from the appropriate mesh nodes. There may even be an effort to spread out and back up information across many nodes based on a highly positive rating.

As a result of THAT mess, the main difference between a given network is less the groups that use it, but how it handles the complex assignment algorithms needed. The groups that use a given network chose it as a side effect of their political alignment favoring certain ways of weighing certain priorities. @-list is favored by Anarchists because it favors blogs, political rants, and the organization of work groups (or similar organizations). Guanxi is favored by criminal enterprises (presumably) because of heavy encryption and hiding withing other information. RNA is favored by scientists because it focuses on making peer review and cooperative research easy. And so on.

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Scattershot reactions

TheGrue wrote:
Are there any modern-day analogues to EP rep networks?

We're still firmly ensconced in an era of scarcity economics, but this list from Wikipedia provides some obliquely relevant examples:

  • Search: web (see PageRank)
  • eCommerce: eBay, Epinions, Bizrate, Trustpilot
  • Social news: Reddit, Digg, Imgur
  • Programming communities: Advogato, freelance marketplaces, Stack Overflow
  • Wikis: Increase contribution quantity and quality (Dencheva, Prause & Prinz 2011)
  • Internet Security: TrustedSource
  • Question-and-Answer sites: Quora, Yahoo! Answers, Gutefrage.net, Stack Exchange
  • Email: DNSBL and DNSWL provide global reputation about email senders
  • Personal Reputation: CouchSurfing (for travelers),
  • Non Governmental organizations (NGOs): GreatNonProfits.org, GlobalGiving
  • Professional reputation of translators and translation outsourcers: BlueBoard at ProZ.com
  • All purpose reputation system: Yelp, Inc.
  • Academia: general bibliometric measures, e.g. the h-index of a researcher.

In terms of rep economies in the EP sense, the closest we as a society come is probably in credit score calculations, referrals/investigations for high profile white-collar jobs, and certain public services.

TheGrue wrote:
Are rep networks possibly just an abstraction?

Not only are they absolutely 100% an abstraction, but we all--and by all, I mean even people who are ignorant of the issue--think that they are. Nobody bats an eyelash at the idea of rolling against rep. Ever had to roll to spend creds?

And now a couple of QFTs:

thepedant wrote:
It's flattened to a single number in a small number of categories because otherwise in gameplay terms it's both worthless (you'd almost never have the rep you needed for a particular interaction) and painfully complicated (always have to recalculate exactly where you stand with each sub-faction).

uwtartarus wrote:
There are AI that invent wormholes (and/or tap into a preexisting network of wormholes), quantum computers cost less than a new body. I think an AI or algorithm that can sort out bad faith rep votes is not an impossibility. Entire criminal networks struggle to game the system, and it is portrayed as something that is no small or easy task that it just happens on its own.

If you can suspend your disbelief for mind/body dualism, alien slime molds in FTL ships, and magic-space-wizards via Asyncs, surely an AI ran system competent enough to prevent people from screwing around with rep couldn't be that hard. Especially since no rep network is so miniature as a single habitat or small enough that it doesn't exceed that primate number where you no longer feel the tribal identity.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
DocRodgers wrote:The way I've

DocRodgers wrote:
The way I've always seen the Rep networks is that they are the inevitable end result of the switch to Mesh Networks. Since few server farms exist anymore, partially from practicality and partially from a fear of the Titans, websites like Facebook and Google are no longer practical in every day life. The result is, any "sites" that continue to exist have to be built to have bits and pieces of their crucial code spread out across numerous mesh nodes.

The Rep networks, therefore, exist to accomplish several tasks at once. The first is the basic tasks the books lay out, assigning a positive or negative association with certain people or pieces of information, as if it were a social network. The second is handling the bizarre and complicated task of retrieving and assigning information across the many mesh nodes needed to store all the information held across the mesh. A single website or blog may be held within, say, @-list, but that just tells you which routing protocol needed to correctly retrieve that site from the appropriate mesh nodes. There may even be an effort to spread out and back up information across many nodes based on a highly positive rating.

As a result of THAT mess, the main difference between a given network is less the groups that use it, but how it handles the complex assignment algorithms needed. The groups that use a given network chose it as a side effect of their political alignment favoring certain ways of weighing certain priorities. @-list is favored by Anarchists because it favors blogs, political rants, and the organization of work groups (or similar organizations). Guanxi is favored by criminal enterprises (presumably) because of heavy encryption and hiding withing other information. RNA is favored by scientists because it focuses on making peer review and cooperative research easy. And so on.

Brilliant! This is my new head-canon. Also gives me some ideas of how to lay out mesh infiltration missions, different shapes in different rep-net protocols. I imaging information in the networks could also be locked to only let people of given rep-values see it?

A slight smell of ions....

DocRodgers DocRodgers's picture
o11o1 wrote:DocRodgers wrote

o11o1 wrote:
DocRodgers wrote:
The way I've always seen the Rep networks is that they are the inevitable end result of the switch to Mesh Networks. Since few server farms exist anymore, partially from practicality and partially from a fear of the Titans, websites like Facebook and Google are no longer practical in every day life. The result is, any "sites" that continue to exist have to be built to have bits and pieces of their crucial code spread out across numerous mesh nodes.

The Rep networks, therefore, exist to accomplish several tasks at once. The first is the basic tasks the books lay out, assigning a positive or negative association with certain people or pieces of information, as if it were a social network. The second is handling the bizarre and complicated task of retrieving and assigning information across the many mesh nodes needed to store all the information held across the mesh. A single website or blog may be held within, say, @-list, but that just tells you which routing protocol needed to correctly retrieve that site from the appropriate mesh nodes. There may even be an effort to spread out and back up information across many nodes based on a highly positive rating.

As a result of THAT mess, the main difference between a given network is less the groups that use it, but how it handles the complex assignment algorithms needed. The groups that use a given network chose it as a side effect of their political alignment favoring certain ways of weighing certain priorities. @-list is favored by Anarchists because it favors blogs, political rants, and the organization of work groups (or similar organizations). Guanxi is favored by criminal enterprises (presumably) because of heavy encryption and hiding withing other information. RNA is favored by scientists because it focuses on making peer review and cooperative research easy. And so on.

Brilliant! This is my new head-canon. Also gives me some ideas of how to lay out mesh infiltration missions, different shapes in different rep-net protocols. I imaging information in the networks could also be locked to only let people of given rep-values see it?

You're welcome :)

I don't see a reason why there couldn't be a rep lock (beyond the fact that a given group using the network may not like keeping secrets) but why stop there? C-rep might have systems in place for hiding things based on which corporation or local government you work for, and then assigning security clearance. @-list might require a citizen code to post to a given hab's planning forums (but reading it is open to anyone of course). RNA's anti-spam protocol could include a system to prevent or discourage people accidentally going on a drunken rant about a subject they don't actually know much about.

...This idea gets better and better the more I think about it.

Tango Tango's picture
uwtartarus wrote:If you can

uwtartarus wrote:
If you can suspend your disbelief for mind/body dualism, alien slime molds in FTL ships, and magic-space-wizards via Asyncs, surely an AI ran system competent enough to prevent people from screwing around with rep couldn't be that hard. Especially since no rep network is so miniature as a single habitat or small enough that it doesn't exceed that primate number where you no longer feel the tribal identity.

But it's not a question of how many teraflops you can throw at it. I might favor a certain person/service because of my background. By doing that i would also deny pings to a potentially better service. They would be punished because of factors beyond their control. How could an AI (or anyone for that matter) possibly handle a situation like that to facilitate fair outcome? It's not possible. Unless you let the AI do your decisions for you, bias will always control you to a degree. The question is, how much, and to that I would argue: a lot.

I remember reading a study about how values are imprinted into people and at what age. I can't remember the name of the study or any exact data (I'm sure you'll find it with Google), but my point is that this happens. We can for example predict that the current migration wave into Europe will result into enclaves & ghettos in the long run because the people coming here have already crossed that age where their cultural identities have formed. To put it mildly, integration of these people will be extremely challenging. (historically it has never worked on this scale).

Lets go back to EP. We have dislocated people from across the world, limited resources (no matter what they tell you!) and very limited living space: An environment primed for tribalism. Many establishments have adopted this strategy (very successfully) in EP; Titan wouldn't be what it is without cultural cohesion. I see this as natural development.

So here's my point: If we accept that culture plays a major role in society and human interactions, then the very concept of rep economy is dead on arrival, especially when you expand it to cover multiple different cultures.

- "Mom's chicken soup, maybe?"

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Yeah, and QE comms violate

Yeah, and QE comms violate causality, asyncs are space wizards, etc. Nanofabricators are apparently way too resource intensive to be real, etc etc.

Maybe the aggregator AI/algorithms can identify when your biases might be influencing it?

What I am arguing is that regardless of how impossible these concepts are, we accept them because they are part of the game.

To use a different game's example, Shadowrun's wireless matrix exists on defiance of how real life computer science works. But we accept it because it is part of the game.

Rep economies may be as impossible as you claim, I am skeptical of all of this, but the rep economies are part of the game. Run your games where the rep economies only appear to work, or maybe they are a Promethean scheme, only seeming to function because of post-singularity intelligences.

Or try and run the game without I guess. Whatever works for you.

I'm holding out on the continued development of (trans)human social evolution.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Rep economies are a lot like

Rep economies are a lot like gift economies, which work fine in a tribalistic setting. I don't see how tribalism makes a rep economy untenable.

The standards for a rep economy are pretty ridiculous as well, it's basically the same as saying the capitalism can't work because no one is really rational, or has perfect information.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Your argument that rep

Your argument that rep economies are dead on arrival because of human nature's inherent biases should also apply to the current cash/credit economy used on modern earth. Despite a significant degree of inequity, the current economy does function. This implies that the tribalism of humans is insufficient to eliminate non-dominant tribe members from the economy (though the system is obviously unfair).

uwtartarus already touched on this, but here's a simple example of AI being able to build a better, less biased version.

If you don't like some ethnicity B, and you never ping the rep of members of that ethnicity, the AI notices. It notices all your pings go to members of your ethnicity A instead. For every two pings by you to a member of ethnicity A, the AI gives one ping to the member of ethnicity A, and one ping to a member of ethnicity B (proportional to their current rep standing, so relative utility is preserved).

In this crude example, your bias actually makes your ping weaker in highlighting the members of ethnicity A that are the most useful, but a more complex system can handle that properly.

You may be arguing that AI is incapable of noticing the bias, but that's a very unlikely position to take.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Is it actually in the AI's

Is it actually in the AI's interests/directives/goals to *do* anything about the bias it notices, however?

Depends on who it was that programmed the AI. Another place that would put us to different major rep networks: their AI managers hold different values.

A slight smell of ions....

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Trappedinwikipedia wrote:Rep

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
Rep economies are a lot like gift economies, which work fine in a tribalistic setting. I don't see how tribalism makes a rep economy untenable.

The standards for a rep economy are pretty ridiculous as well, it's basically the same as saying the capitalism can't work because no one is really rational, or has perfect information.

That is a good point, Rep economies are high tech gift economies.

Not only that but the Fall killed 90% of the population, and ethnic identities are so threatened by that pop decline AND the ubiquity of resleeving that to be a member of an ethnic group in a high pop region like Mars, all you need to do is act the part and you are in.

Rep economies are not stymied by tribalism, they would CREATE tribalism, as each separate rep network is a the new tribal identity. Even where nationalism still has a chance of being meaningful, Luna, there is no indication that the Hindi-Lunars don't get along with Anglo-American-Lunars, or the Sino-Lunars. Lunars are united by their "we are the oldest extraterrestrial culture" and their disdain for clanking masses, and not divided into their ethnic groups. On Mars there is a lot of people but so many resleeved that ethnic identities mean performance of ethnic norms.

If you don't like someone, chances are others in your rep network won't like them either, and the system will account for that.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Tango Tango's picture
I have no problem with the

I have no problem with the science of EP; if it's inaccurate, so be it. If the laws of physics work differently in EP, that's fine. The only real connection between our world and EP (or any other fantasy world for that matter) is the human being. To me fantasy is about how we mold and adapt into different realities. What would it look like if we could make forks of ourselves? What would happen? I've already laid out how i would see a rep based economy play out. One could argue it's physics: we'll find the path of least resistance within any given system. Burn as few calories as possible to extract maximum benefits. In the case of a rep economy that makes a one way trip to hyper inflation, not unlike in your standard MMORPG's.

Perhaps the whole concept of rep (as an economic system) just isn't explained well enough in the game. Maybe I'm wrong. The fact that we don't have detail information about as important system as this to the society at large tells me otherwise. Because once you start asking questions, you'll only find more questions.

Let me paint you a picture: Let's assume that the AI is up to the task, whatever that means in the realm of subjectivity of opinions. It will know if you are dishonest (consciously or unconsciously) and it will take in account everything you've ever done and said and thought to come up with an accurate way to rate your character. It monitors the pings you send out and then modifies them accordingly to smooth out any human factors that might affect the score. It knows you better than you do. In fact it will most probably be able to predict your every step and every word that comes out of your mouth.
If your economic well being is controlled by this AI, would you take suggestions from it how to be? Would any actor have any interest in getting access to these AI's? Since the AI would have to make value judgements that can't be solved with math, what would be the default right answers be? Who would program them in and why those answers in particular?
Do you think this is a good idea? The AI would have to be able to reach this level of "analytics" in order for the system to work. If it couldn't, well, rep wouldn't mean anything because of inherent bias that's included in the now-inaccurate-rep score. I don't know witch of these options is scarier.

- "Mom's chicken soup, maybe?"

eaton eaton's picture
In conclusion, Marxism.

In conclusion, Marxism.

[EDIT]

OK, that sounded snarkier than I intended. ;-) What I mean is that you're describing a system by which work, entertainment, favors, and other ways of cultivating goodwill are given numerical value so that they can be stockpiled, used as a measure of individual trustworthiness or success, and exchanged for reciprocal material goods or favors at a later point. It sounds awesome in principle, but it also carries the chilling potential of behavior distortion. Wouldn't peoples' behavior change in response to the codification and enumeration of value that's inherent in such a system? Wouldn't they ultimately just become slaves to the whims of whatever inhuman systems act as arbiters of value?

Yes! Which is the critique of 'money' that a lot of anticapitalists are eager to jump into. Rep markets wouldn't bypass any of these problems inherently, any more than Bitcoin's novel algorithms freed people from the tyranny of labor. But in a post-scarcity fabber-rich environment, they do provide an interesting way to couple a currency-like system to distributed factions and sociopolitical groups, rather than nation-states, which fits really well with EP's themes.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Tango wrote:Let me paint you

Tango wrote:
Let me paint you a picture: Let's assume that the AI is up to the task, whatever that means in the realm of subjectivity of opinions. It will know if you are dishonest (consciously or unconsciously) and it will take in account everything you've ever done and said and thought to come up with an accurate way to rate your character. It monitors the pings you send out and then modifies them accordingly to smooth out any human factors that might affect the score. It knows you better than you do. In fact it will most probably be able to predict your every step and every word that comes out of your mouth.
If your economic well being is controlled by this AI, would you take suggestions from it how to be? Would any actor have any interest in getting access to these AI's? Since the AI would have to make value judgements that can't be solved with math, what would be the default right answers be? Who would program them in and why those answers in particular?
Do you think this is a good idea? The AI would have to be able to reach this level of "analytics" in order for the system to work. If it couldn't, well, rep wouldn't mean anything because of inherent bias that's included in the now-inaccurate-rep score. I don't know witch of these options is scarier.

This sounds like the sort of AI that would have turned into a TITAN during the fall and ensured that the Fall already knew what moves the humans were going to make.

I would venture that the modern rep net AIs are not that strong, they wouldn't be able to predict the words that come out of your mouth that well. It has to go by past actions, not predicted futures.

A slight smell of ions....

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
My personal take on Rep, so

My personal take on Rep, so far has been something akin to youtube:

A person posts a Thing on their rep network. Other people see it, and either uprate the Thing or downrate it - possibly leaving comments on why, or try to bait out the poster into a flame-war. A persons score on their network is a general agregate of all the things they've posted, done or participated in. Favours, providing material goods and the like obviously weight heavily in this interpretation - and people could research how likely a person is to help or offer favours for exchange by doing some mesh searching.

Bandwagoning by personalities to mass downvote others for no reason would still be a thing, as it is mentioned (particularly in examples out of @-List) that mutual 'rep-trashing' is a common way to punish/get back at someone.

Other takes include things like C-Rep being your public investments portfolio combined with your credit score and such-like.

As for the biases and whatnot: they absolutely would happen, because they already are happening. It's doubtful that Transhmanity in the far future would be any more enlightened or responsible with their Reps than we are with the social media of today (granted the lack of anonymity would stand out as an issue - one that can still be circumvented).

If in doubt though, the MST3K Mantra applies: It's just a game, I really should relax.

Daemon-Dynamics Projects:
2nd Edition Morph Creation Rules


DataPacRat DataPacRat's picture
My extremely uninformed idea:

My extremely uninformed idea:

Given that the game's Rep scores are percentiles between 0 and 100, I suspect that in-setting, they're the same. I suspect that some decades in the past, some clever programmers came up with some tricks to estimate and update Bayesian probabilities for some metrics that approximated 'how likely Person X will do something to benefit me', then added further factors about second-order effects (such as 'how likely Person X will do something that helps person Y who can then help me'), after which a plethora of such metrics arose that each took into account slightly different things, after which networking effects meant that a few rep-systems which a few more people gathered greater portions of the population until they became near-monopolies despite the fact that what they measured and what people thought they measured were oddly not quite synced, by which time people just got in the habit of keeping track of which actions would increase or decrease their own rep scores (which was reasonably close to what such scores were supposed to track in the first place). Throw in a few other buzzwords such as blockchain-based distributed accounting ledgers, anonymous trust platforms, monolithic rep trackers getting destroyed during the fall leaving only the networks that can be run by a distributed client-base, and so on... and we end up with something close enough to what I've read so far in the EP books that I'm willing to assume that the remaining complications are merely being glossed over.

YMMV, of course.

Thank you for your time,


o11o1 o11o1's picture
We see some book art of

We see some book art of people with four digit rep scores. I think each rep net will have it's own score guidelines. @-rep might not even report a number, and only give relative rankings.

A slight smell of ions....

eaton eaton's picture
I imagine f-rep being

I imagine f-rep being incredibly volatile at the low levels (it's easy to go from 0 to 20 in a single afternoon, but climbing from 20 to 40 is a real full-time-job kind of slog, and once you hit 60+, it'll take a major act of genocide to burn rep). Slow decay if you aren't visible to the masses has more impact at the high levels than any specific action.

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Urthdigger wrote:I view rep

Urthdigger wrote:
I view rep networks like an abstraction. It's less something like Facebook or Reddit and more your standing within a community.

To be a little less abstract, things like Slashdot karma, gold stars and repository forks on Github, and seeds/likes/+1's on the private BitTorrent trackers of your choice. Websites where concrete records of what you do and how well you do it are publically tracked and used to determine trustworthiness.



Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
The Doctor wrote:Urthdigger

The Doctor wrote:
Urthdigger wrote:
I view rep networks like an abstraction. It's less something like Facebook or Reddit and more your standing within a community.

To be a little less abstract, things like Slashdot karma, gold stars and repository forks on Github, and seeds/likes/+1's on the private BitTorrent trackers of your choice. Websites where concrete records of what you do and how well you do it are publically tracked and used to determine trustworthiness.

It's been a while since I've done in-depth research of the game's flavor text, but is it actually stated anywhere that rep is recorded as a concrete number in a database? Whenever I've considered rep, it's less reddit karma and more just... well, your reputation. It's like... if I'm in a group, and a well known person within it asks me to help with something, I'll likely make time to do so, whether out of gratitude for what they've done or in hopes that being seen with them will reflect positively on my own reputation. Similarly, if someone is recognized as an all-around problem individual, I'll probably avoid doing things I'd do for total strangers. This isn't based on something like their karma or twitter followers, but on my experiences with them and what my friends think of them.

Now, a lot of this spreading of reputation may be spread by muses, thus making total anonymity less likely. They're likely to browse the net for reports about people helping or hurting members of the community, so if you run into someone you may ask your muse "Hey... is this guy cool?" and get a general gist of whether they've been helping out fellow artists set up venues, an up and coming pop idol, or a backstabbing son of a bitch. Similarly if you're new to an area yourself, you may ping other muses (or people themselves, but muses are likely faster to respond) to see their opinion of someone. In this fashion, people do have a rep score, but it's a personal one that varies on who you ask.

Your rep score in this model is a bit of an average of the "scores" people in that community have of you. A high rep score doesn't mean you're universally loved, and a low rep score doesn't mean everyone hates you. Maybe you're a staunch bioconservative and the locals in the Guanxi network view you as a bit of a fascist and an asshole, but there's that one guy who really approves of your views.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I don't believe it is a

I don't believe it is a simple number, that's an abstraction for game purposes.

knasser knasser's picture
.

All that I know is that a society where remuneration depends on popularity rather than provided services, sounds like a nightmare.

I've always seen Rep as a kind of distributed score people receive. If you do something people approve of, they'll tag you with +1 or whatever. If you do something they don't, they'll tag you with -1, -2, whatever. Effectively, people you meet or who become aware of you will upvote or downvote you. On a Scum barge, everyone is a YouTube video.

The thing is, you don't need to formerly join a rep network, imo. It's not a citizenship thing. So long as you're uniquely identifiable (which nearly everybody would be) and someone from that network becomes aware of you and forms an opinion (e.g. you arrive on the Scum barge, someone from there meets you on Luna, whatever), their software gives them the option to assign reputation scores. When they meet others on the same network, their assigned score of you copies over and percolates through the network as people talk to each other, walk past each other, whatever.

Someone suggested up-thread that bias could be dealt with by an AI. But that faces the same problem any FIAT-currency does: it requires popular buy-in. If the majority of people don't agree with the AI then it will languish in irrelevance because the only thing that gives its opinions worth is that people think they have worth.

The single most important thing to understand, imo, with Rep networks is that almost nobody wants an unbiased system. Everyone will think they do, but they will always want it aligned with how they think society should work. I'll avoid real-world examples because I don't want to be too divisive. But people will form fault lines and punish minority views. They will call those views "hate speech" or "unscientific" or "religious extremism" or "against the community" or any number of things depending on what suits. But the main problem the huge majority of people I know have with any political or economic system is that They are not in charge.. And I extend that to most anarchists that I know as well.

The second most important thing to consider with rep networks, imo, is that they aren't limited to people's actions, but to their opinions, beliefs and origins. That hypercorp executive is going to have @-rep in the toilet even if they arrive with puppies for everyone, because people will not like them or their beliefs. An open atheist is going to have poor rep in an Islamic hab the moment they discuss religion because the people there want to promote and protect their culture and see them as a threat. (Which they are).

If people actually wanted an unbiased system that had some greater measure of protection against tyranny of the majority, they would come up with a system that directly tied reward to service and also prevented the removal of reward other than by consent or judicial punishment. They'd call that system "money", probably. Now of course opinion and law still affect the ability to gain the "money", but it's at least at one step remove now and that mitigates the bias.

Anyway, this is my take on it all. None of the above should be taken as me arguing that rep networks don't work or shouldn't exist in the setting. I absolutely love the idea as a setting element. In the same way I love the TITANs as a setting element. It's great in a dystopian game. But poster upthread is absolutely right, imo, about it not merely being susceptible to tribalism and tyranny of the majority, but leading to it.

"We're here to save the planet. But not for free."

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
And that's why the inner rim

And that's why the inner rim is the way it is, not everyone is super thrilled to join the rep economy.

eaton eaton's picture
All that I know is that a

Quote:
All that I know is that a society where remuneration depends on popularity rather than provided services, sounds like a nightmare.

I'm a little confused. As it currently stands, EP Rep is usually something you accrue by your actions and interactions with people, much like a tipping system. People can also straight-up trade on their rep to get stuff or to get others to do things.

It sounds like you're conflating "you can use popularity as if it were money" with "you receive money based on your popularity."

Quote:
If people actually wanted an unbiased system that had some greater measure of protection against tyranny of the majority, they would come up with a system that directly tied reward to service and also prevented the removal of reward other than by consent or judicial punishment. They'd call that system "money", probably. Now of course opinion and law still affect the ability to gain the "money", but it's at least at one step remove now and that mitigates the bias.

Keep in mind that rep economies in EP exist in what can reasonably be called a "post-scarcity" world. Zero rep doesn't mean you starve to death — just that you can't get stuff from randos on the Circle-A List without doing straight up work-trade, or what not. There's also not a mechanism for tracking *negative* rep, other than the Blacklisted trait. So the worst case scenario is being treated like a stranger.

The weird/interesting thing about rep networks in EP is that they are *not* simply "reskinned currency." They're an entirely different mechanism for getting, rewarding, and allocating stuff.

knasser knasser's picture
.

eaton wrote:
Quote:
All that I know is that a society where remuneration depends on popularity rather than provided services, sounds like a nightmare.

I'm a little confused. As it currently stands, EP Rep is usually something you accrue by your actions and interactions with people, much like a tipping system. People can also straight-up trade on their rep to get stuff or to get others to do things.

Well Rep networks are not precisely defined in EP which is why there's debate in this thread as to how they work. The way I read it, it's like a social network that rates how people think of you and the book draws comparisons with such things. If you perform actions which please people then of course your rep will likely rise, but that's not a direct mechanism, it's indirect. You don't gain Rep Dollars by performing service, you become more popular by performing some service and popularity is measured. It's still a measure of popularity and still subject to the problems thereof -

  • You don't gain or lose rep solely through performing actions like "tips". It's also based on how much people like you. You could have performed lots of vital services but the moment you get into a public argument where you're seen as sympathetic to Hypercorps, your rep tanks. People are not, so far as I am aware, confined to only associating rep votes to specific actions. They can give or remove Rep for any reason at any time. If you're an outsider to their group, that's likely a far greater factor than what tasks you perform. It still comes down to popularity. Only way out of that is for rep not to be something people can freely give or take.

  • Even within the tipping system as you view it, it still gets weighted by who you are. The pretty waitresses get a lot more tips than the ugly ones. The ones who flirt get more tips than those that don't. Ask a waitress if you've never been one! And similarly, the person who agrees with your politics and values is going to be better rewarded than the one who is viewed as "Not one of us". Why? Because that's human nature and because - as the poster above talking about Game Theory observed - you don't want to give power to your rivals. "It's hard being a bioconservative in this world - you have to work twice as hard for half the respect." Bias exists in a capitalist system often enough, but in this one it's completely let off the leash.

  • It costs the giver nothing to give and nothing to take away. If you give someone money, that is money you no longer have. If you give someone an upvote, there's no reason not to. The effect of that would require some thought, but I think the likely consequence is an extreme disparity in Rep. When giving has a cost to people, that acts as a dampener on wild variations. Without it, I expect a "lottery winner" model of reputation. Similarly the ability to rapidly tank rep combines with this to make a very Boom and Bust effect common with people's Rep.

  • Is how people assign Rep public knowledge? Or even just obtainable? If so - and I think by the way Rep is described as working it is necessarily so - it leads to ghettoization and social segregation. Look at our own world where even being associated with the latest Bette Noir forces people to rush out and distance themselves from him or her, leads to their own media profile being heavily damaged. If you're giving Rep to someone regarded as bad, you're enabling and supporting that person. It's even worse than paying them money for some service because Rep is optional - it's a personal statement that you approve of this person. The consequence of this is that if someone does something unpopular, there's a cascading withdrawal of rep. This combines with the previous reason that Rep will be subject to wild swings.

  • Wild swings in your 'income' make long term planning and tasks extremely difficult.

Your analogy is to waitresses. I fear a society in which we are all waitresses. If you've ever been a waitress, you'll probably be of the opinion that working for tips sucks. Because it does.

eaton wrote:
It sounds like you're conflating "you can use popularity as if it were money" with "you receive money based on your popularity."

Well, money isn't a perfect analogue but by my reading and inference, rep systems are the former. The latter is inaccurate because there is no money in the system and what you do have doesn't function as money.

eaton wrote:

Keep in mind that rep economies in EP exist in what can reasonably be called a "post-scarcity" world. Zero rep doesn't mean you starve to death — just that you can't get stuff from randos on the Circle-A List without doing straight up work-trade, or what not. There's also not a mechanism for tracking *negative* rep, other than the Blacklisted trait. So the worst case scenario is being treated like a stranger.

Yes, I'm aware it's a "post-scarcity" economy. Everything I wrote was on that basis. However, regarding the extrapolations you've made from that. (1) People trying to do a "straight-up work trade" are competing with an existing economic system. You can go to someone and say "I want to trade me doing this for you doing that" but what's in it for them? If someone did that to you in real life wouldn't you by default just say "I'll pay someone to do it?" The reason money evolved is because barter is highly awkward and time consuming and inefficient. Sure, there's nothing stopping you from going to an artist and saying "I want you to make me a sculpture. I'm a bouncer and I'll trade my services," but maybe they don't need a bouncer. What are you going to do? Find someone who does and get them to agree to host a party at their club for yet another person who happens to have an antique watch from Earth that the sculptor wants so they can give it to the person who owns the club that employs you as a bouncer to give to the sculptor who swallowed a spider... Direct work trade is fine in the abstract, but think it through - your work trades have to compete with a much more efficient and established economic system that the sculptor already uses. If you're not popular, you have insurmountable obstacles that can't realistically be got around with work trade. An advanced society means specialised skills. Specialised skills mean barter is not feasible.

(2) (Yes, there's more! ;) . You say there is no way to track "negative Rep". It's true the game system measures things as 0 and up. But I don't think that's plausible. Everything is relative. Even if you say there is nothing below 0, it will settle at a mid-point. You can say "but our rep system goes to 11", but everything is relative.

So I think everything I wrote stands up to examination. And obviously I am aware this is a "post-scarcity" system. I have read the same books you have! ;) Honestly, being non-American and seeing how things work for waitresses in the USA (living off tips rather than a wage), likening rep networks to being "like a waitress" doesn't do much to alleviate my view of it as a dystopia. Tying purchasing power to popularity is pretty scary to me.

"We're here to save the planet. But not for free."

Kojak Kojak's picture
FWIW, I tend to imagine most

FWIW, I tend to imagine most autonomist habs as being somewhat like midcentury small Midwestern towns; everyone knows everyone and it's got a solid community spirit, but it's also socially stifling and conformist in a lot of insidious ways, and lots of "rebellious" kids in small autonomist habs end up leaving for Extropia, a scum swarm, or one of the larger habs where you can melt into the populace a bit, like Locus or Nova York.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

DocRodgers DocRodgers's picture
Kojak wrote:FWIW, I tend to

Kojak wrote:
FWIW, I tend to imagine most autonomist habs as being somewhat like midcentury small Midwestern towns; everyone knows everyone and it's got a solid community spirit, but it's also socially stifling and conformist in a lot of insidious ways, and lots of "rebellious" kids in small autonomist habs end up leaving for Extropia, a scum swarm, or one of the larger habs where you can melt into the populace a bit, like Locus or Nova York.

Ya but you're going to get that in plenty of places. There's bound to be dozens of places like that on Mars that just aren't worth mentioning in the books.

knasser knasser's picture
.

DocRodgers wrote:
Kojak wrote:
FWIW, I tend to imagine most autonomist habs as being somewhat like midcentury small Midwestern towns; everyone knows everyone and it's got a solid community spirit, but it's also socially stifling and conformist in a lot of insidious ways, and lots of "rebellious" kids in small autonomist habs end up leaving for Extropia, a scum swarm, or one of the larger habs where you can melt into the populace a bit, like Locus or Nova York.

Ya but you're going to get that in plenty of places. There's bound to be dozens of places like that on Mars that just aren't worth mentioning in the books.

Money mitigates the stifling effect, though. Your money is as good as anyone else's money whether you agree with the shopkeeper or not. On an economy based on asking for favours, though, having unpopular opinions means you're fucked. Nobody is forced to grant you a favour as I understand it. If you believe X and they believe Y, they may well just say "no". You don't even have to have a very low rep, just be refused favours by the ones you need them from.

"We're here to save the planet. But not for free."

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Your rep is just as good as

Your rep is just as good as everyone else's as well, no one is forced to accept your money either.

Tango Tango's picture
Sorry for the necro but it

Sorry for the necro but it looks like rubber's about to meet the road with this concept in China:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/16/17130366/china-social-credit-travel-plane-train-tickets

- "Mom's chicken soup, maybe?"