Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten Things to Consider When Designing A Peer-to-Peer Reputation System

From Collaborative Consumption
How can the trust we form face-to-face be replicated in our online systems?
By Rachel Botsman on November 29, 2010

The success of many organizations in the Collaborative Consumption space relies on the strength of the peer-to-peer network they build for their community. The key ingredient in these online networks is their ability to replicate the trust we are able to build in our real-world exchanges in the online environment. Here are 10 key factors that help build an effective peer-to-peer reputation system.

1. Unforgivable behaviour: Identify the single most important good behaviour that the reputation mechanisms need to encourage. This will simultaneously act as a strong disincentive for bad behaviour.

2. Decipher: There is a gap between what people actually care about and what they think they care about. Test your system to clarify the difference.

3. Competition: We are innately wired to love being top of the table. Present your user rankings to create healthy competition among peers.


4. Quality: Celebrate and reward users who take the time to contribute quality feedback; they should become the benchmark for others.

5. Signal: People need to be crystal clear on what they are rating. Identify the main behaviour signal you want users to be able to share, eg like/dislike; satisfied/dissatisfied; trust/distrust; reliable/unreliable, etc.

6. Sticky ratings: Pick a primary scoring system (stars, ticks, tiers, thumbs, badges, numerical ratings) and give the ratings sticky names, such as “Power Seller”.


7. Trust dimensions: People build trust in different ways. Scoring systems are great but they are often binary. Build in qualitative feedback systems based on open-ended questions that anyone can answer and that will prompt people to share something revealing and meaningful about themselves.

8. People like me: We like to know, and tend to value, what our friends and people like us think of other people. Integrate “inner-circle” vouching mechanisms (for example, went to the same school, work in the same office) into your reputation system.

9. Peer police: An open reputation system must be peer-policed but if things do go wrong, your organisation needs to be on hand quickly to offer support, resolve disputes and weed out the vandals and abusers.

10. Mirror reality: The ultimate goal of your system is to virtually replicate the trust we form face to face. Mirror the questions and dynamics we use in physical reality.

“10 things” are from Rachel’s “The Reputation Economy” article that appeared in AFR BOSS Magazine. Read the full article here.

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