Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Golden Rules of Trust

I've just been thinking some more about trust and reputation - and have a list of articles to read and re-read, but sitting on the train on Friday - on the way to the beautiful West Coast of Scotland (blue skies, blue sea, and the top of Goatfell on Arran overlooking me) - I scribbled down some thoughts which maybe online trust should address. Maybe I'm wrong on some of this (I'm still working through it), but here are my initial golden rules:

  1. Trust is not a constant - it can (and does change...over time, according to relationships etc.);

  2. Trust can be, but is not necessarily, reciprocal;

  3. There is a categorisation of trust: you can trust an individual on one plane, and completely distrust him/her on another;

  4. Trust can be misplaced, so it needs to be adjustable/amendable (see rule 1.);

  5. Trust (in the real world) can be transmitted through group interaction: A knows B, and introduces B to his trusted group, which decides to trust B (although individuals in the group may reserve trusting judgement!);

  6. Trust (in the real world) is not just a psychological construct, it appears to be physical too (oxytocin, body language, group dynamics);

  7. Trust is not dependent upon face-to-face communication. Phone and internet relationship building demonstrates this;

  8. Trust is usually a 1-to-1 relationship, but it can be 1-to-many or many-to-1 (see rule 5.);

  9. People appear to develop strategies of trust; (see rule 1. also in that strategies can develop over time);

  10. Trust can deteriorate over time if its "ties" are not renewed (frequency and currency of trust);

  11. Trust appears to be a generalised concept ("trustworthiness") and may reach a point of critical mass where "trustworthiness" more easily creates more trust;

  12. There's quite a lot of cross-over in this list, and it needs a lot more thought, but I'll have a think, a re-read, a re-think, and work on this list some more, as I think a number of these points can be leveraged for online trust/reputation models.

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