Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gorb = Wuffie

As of this morning I've become enamored with a new "reputation currency" site, Gorb. In a nutshell, it's a place where you can go and leave ratings and comments for people -- anonymously.

For those of you suffering from a bit of virtual whiplash, allow me to explain.

Yes, I've gone on record saying that begging for votes is tiresome, boorish and a waste of good quality time. That opinion still holds true. You'll never hear me asking you to go rate any of my podcasts. Been there, didn't like the smell.

But this site is different, and probably because of the intentional barriers they put in place to hinder the beggars out there. Unlike most sites which actively encourage direct linking to profile pages and one-click ratings, Gorb doesn't allow it. They work on the principal that, regardless of how you got there, you are only qualified to rate people that you actually know. They make this determination of personal or professional acquaintance on something simple -- and email address. If you know someone's email address, you can rate them. If not... well then you probably don't know them well enough to provide honest feedback on them, now do you?

Pretty simple. And pretty simple to beat, that I'll grant you. But that little barrier will probably be enough to keep things more honest than other places. Sometimes a simple barrier is nearly as effective as a serious hurdle. Think about all the front doors with glass windows in them or beside them. Won't keep anyone with felonious intent out, but it keeps out the riffraff. Or I could be totally wrong and Gorb gets all fracked up with worthless ratings in a matter of weeks. But I don't think that will happen. There's something about this program that seems pretty groovy to me.

But it's not all rosy. The one flaw I see is for people like me. I have email addresses for the following properties/domains/podcasts:
  • Dragon Page
  • Slice of Scifi
  • Podiobooks.com¹
  • Wingin' It
  • A Simpler Way
  • Farpoint Media
  • Yahoo!
  • Gmail

Currently, there is no way for me to log into Gorb and tell their system that any and all ratings/comments received on those addresses all belong to the same person -- me. That's a problem, in my opinion. I've spoken with one of the interface designers and expressed my concerns. We'll see if they can/will do anything about it. Or maybe I'm wrong, and they should stay separate. Nah... that feels wrong.

So there it is, my new Gem of the Moment™. Oh, and if you're wondering about the "wuffie" reference in the title, go read Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. It's available online for free.

¹ - This is the only email account (with the requisite "evo@" prepend) I've so far registered with Gorb.

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