Oct 072009

Randy Farmer (he of Habitat fame, and much more besides!) and Bryce Glass have been posting excerpts from their upcoming book Building Web Reputation Systems on a blog, and today’s has a great anecdote in it that hammers home all the math behind negative reputation systems.

“Hi! I see from your hub that you’re new to the area. Give me all your Simoleans or my friends and I will make it impossible to rent a house.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m a member of the Sims Mafia, and we will all mark you as untrustworthy, turning your hub solid red (with no more room for green), and no one will play with you. You have five minutes to comply. If you think I’m kidding, look at your hub-three of us have already marked you red. Don’t worry, we’ll turn it green when you pay…”

If you think this is a fun game, think again-a typical response to this shakedown was for the user to decide that the game wasn’t worth $10 a month. Playing dollhouse doesn’t usually involve gangsters.

— Building Web Reputation Systems: The Blog: The Dollhouse Mafia, or “Don’t Display Negative Karma”.

There’s whole rough drafts of chapters on the site — totally worth reading, pondering, absorbing, and using.

Dec 022008
Richard Bartle, Randy Farmer, and Pavel Curtis

Richard Bartle, Randy Farmer, and Pavel Curtis

Far as we can determine, these three gentlemen have never been in the same real world place at the same time before.

Dr. Richard Bartle: co-creator of MUD, designer and theorist.
Randy Farmer: co-creator of Habitat, the first graphical world (as well as much more).
Pavel Curtis: the moving force behind LambdaMOO.

That is the three biggest inflection points in the history of virtual worlds, right there. 1978/9, 1985, 1990. If only we had John Taylor and Kelton Flinn here too.

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May 082006

So, I’ve already linked to a ton of other people’s commentary on the Metaverse Summit, but I haven’t given any of my own thoughts yet. If you’re used to thinking of me as the pie in the sky idealist, prepare for some grounding…!

Annotated versus virtual reality
There was a definite tug of war between two competing versions of what the metaverse means. One of them is the virtual world thing that most readers of this blog will be familiar with. The other is the annotated world augmented reality thing, which is the idea of pulling web data into the real world by overlaying it on our physical existence via heads-up specs and the like. In between is the “mirrorworld” which is a compromise, replicating the real world into virtual space and then annotating it there.

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