Saturday, February 16, 2008

rating everyone

My dear friend Reza has a wonderful idea. Every one of us should receive a rating and reviews.

Imagine a world where people could easily point their cell phone at you and give you a plus or a minus vote. If you let someone merge in, the other driver can give you a small star. If you stop and help someone with a flat tire, you might get lots of stars. If you cut people off or cheat on the carpool lane, you get bad karma. That's similar to PageRank. We all look at reviews for movies, restaurants, books, hotels, etc. And we look at the star rating on youtube, netflix, etc. Why not have it for people?

You can read his full post here. It's like expanded to all areas of life.

I endorse this idea!

It may make sense to separate the ratings along different axes: career, friendship, relationship. That way, a workaholic who ignores their significant other could have 5 stars on one axis and 0 stars along the other, as opposed to a confusing average of 2.5 stars.

To protect against spamming, you would enter a secret question for each category. Only people who are qualified to rate you would know the answer. For example, the work one could be "What is my desk location number?" so only your real coworkers could rate you.

Potential romance secret questions are left as an exercise to the reader.

This way, when my profile is posted, I won't immediately be voted down to 0 stars by thousands of angry Asian men.


Anonymous said...

That's only if you're going to have an angry asian men category. I can't imagine what the secret question would be for that.. "Why do you hate Niniane?"

That said, I've always thought about this idea. The prototype in my mind is to put giant barcodes on your car. Sometimes I wish I could communicate with someone in another car. The striking lady, the guy with the radio waay too loud, or someone who forgot to turn their night lights on. Obviously, I haven't figured out how to get people to use the system without crashing all over the place.

But once I get those kinks worked out, it'll be awesome. Imagine being able to thank courteous drivers or apologize for accidentally cutting someone off. The possibilities... well yeah, there are some.

Dan said...

Sounds like Whuffie.

For drivers in particular, this sort of thing comes up a lot (see here and here, for example).

I don't think reputation voting systems are all that great, actually. They're useful tools but can cause as many problems as they solve, and people tend to spend a lot of time obsessing over their score in unproductive ways. If it's anonymous, you get anonymous-mob effects; if it's not anonymous, you get retribution fights. Fundamentally this is a popularity contest, and popularity contests can get really ugly.

There's also a lot of tricky implementation catch-22's. I've seen similar ideas proposed a lot, but nobody seems to have a good idea for how you would actually get started making it happen in any real way. Best of luck to anyone who does try!

Biao said...

bravonation might achieve some of the things you mentioned:

John K. Lin said...

Another great idea in theory, but impossible to implement, for the many reasons Dan has outlined. is a pretty good blog that covers Asian-American news, pop culture and issues. I don't think he's ever heard of you, so I don't think he'd be angry at you.

And for every angry Asian male, I am sure there is an admirer :-)

Anonymous said...

@above ^^
You mean ass kisser, not admirer.

Joanna said...

Forget about the Angry Asian Men. U b u.
Team Niniane!

me said...

I agree with Dan.

If such a rating system is implemented, I probably wouldn't read the textbook as hard as I should be, because someone, who want their 5 stars rating, would definitely offer to explain the textbook to me.

Adam Sweet said...

Niniane, why don't you create a website yourself? With your skills and friends in the biz, I'm sure you could work out something totally awesome.

I think it's a great idea and I support you.

And post it here as you go along for feedback.

Why do you think Asian men would be angry at you? That comment seemed out of left field, but maybe I'm missing something.

Anonymous said...

Adam Sweet -

There have been a lot of "angry asian men" who took Niniane's past tongue-and-cheek posting, "Why I Don't Date Asian Men" (under Author's Favorites posting) a little too seriously.

So much so, that Niniane has deleted the original post (which currently has 233 comments)

Anonymous said...

As an Asian man dating a black woman, I enjoy confusing you all.

ArC said...

"Every one of us should receive a rating and reviews. "

We already do. It's called a reputation; it's just not automated and online.

"Why not have it for people? "

I find that the more complex the concept or object being rated, the less general mob-created rankings help. What I need isn't what everyone on Amazon thinks of a book, it's what people -who think like I do- think of that book. (... Oh, I see this is already addressed in the Whuffie system.)

"We all look at reviews for movies, restaurants, books, hotels, etc."

Again, I tend to put more emphasis on professional reviews, and specifically on the text of such reviews rather than a numerical rating, which I feel is too simplistic. (Yes, I know high end restaurants live and die by their star ratings. Even so, a customer-restaurant interaction is pretty narrow if you think about it: the customer pays money and gets served food. (and so forth with books, movies, etc.) This is narrower than the gross field of 'social capital' that encompasses basically every possible human-human interaction.)

OK, all that said, the idea of a web-based karma management system is certainly appealing. Bonus challenge: implement a direct payment system to the karma scorekeeper that basically lets people upgrade their scores while keeping the integrity of the scorekeeper more or less intact.

ArC said...

Come to think of it, Reza's proposal is for our current full-of-scarcity world, not Doctorow's SF world.

There'd be a heckuva business in karma optimization. Hire people to do good deeds under your name/bar code/whatever. Hell, just give gifts with strings attached: "I'm never giving you another {valuable item} if you don't plus-one me."

(one immediate counter to that might be to make the act of upscoring or downscoring cost the scorer something, but there are all sorts of fairness problems that I think are near-intractable.

Ebay's rep system, BTW, is pretty crummy in my opinion, not that I've thought of a better one.)

bene said...



Anonymous said...

along with whuffie, mihai's plusplusbot might also fit the bill.

Dayve said...


The thought of reading through endless rants and raves about a girl
that I may want to date in order to qualify her really stinks and badddddddddddd.

Just meeting a girl like Ninane I would like to think of the possibilities of what could be.

I want fantasy, romance, and to have stories to tell the football team sized
brood that we will have about how we met.

I desire fate, circumstance and mere chance to bring us together.

Reading the rants and raves after the relationship was well established
would be fun in retrospect.

You could dismiss the 2 second assessments made by 99%
of the population.

And you could laugh your ass of about the exaggerated truths. :-)
of your solemate.

Rob said...

Your idea isn't fair.

I work in the finance industry. Nuff said.

Oh, I'm also a confident and great looking Asian man so I know I'll be getting tons of stars from you!

ArC said...

"I work in the finance industry. Nuff said."

Why, I would think someone in the finance industry would have a more positive view of rating agencies!

rob said...

Ironically, your handle is ARC or Auction Rate Certificate which I've been managing for many of our bond buyers.


Also, I wanted to mention that while alot of the complaints to Niniane were unwarrented, I also can draw parallels between this post by Niniane and white people who constantly poo-poo black people's concerns by condescendingly labeling all the complaints as the ramblings of the "angry black person."

Anonymous said...

you're a fucking idiot, rob. seriously. just shut up, keep your fucking ugly head down, and hope that nobody other than me notices.