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.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Scotland and Glasgow - Forums (or is that Fora?) Galore!

I have had a number of calls recently from forum organisers (some that I know, other who are new to me) looking to start up benchmarking forums for intranet- and internet-related issues as well as knowledge management at the enterprise level. One of the forums starting up soon in Glasgow is a smaller scale offshoot of the intranet benchmarking forum (IBF): Paul Miller of TEG (which runs the intranet benchmarking forum) is looking to kick off a scaled-down version of the full forum in Scotland for medium sized companies with - I believe (although I might be wrong on this point) - approx 2,000 staff. This new initiative is called IBF World. The IBF focuses on intranet good practive, covering accessibility, usability, governance and administration, content management and many of the other day-to-day issues of running a successful intranet. If anyone's interested, a taster session is taking place in April - send me an email, and I can put you in touch with Paul.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Content Management - Avoiding the bloat

I've seen a few bits and pieces recently from people grumbling that CMS don't solve any problems, just create new ones, and I reckon this is because a lot of companies buy in the excellent top-of-the-range Documentum/Broadvision-style systems. People often refer to these products as "solutions", but what is the problem they are trying to solve? In the case of most CMS implementations, I think that the problem is usually - at the beginning at least - the simple one of making sure that the right people publish relevant and timely content that is similarly formatted. If this is the case, do you really need all the bells and whistles? Maybe it is better to invest in/build a simple extensible framework that can be added to in an iterative fashion as CMS needs develop. Keep it simple, start stripped-down and then develop plug-ins and add-ons according to need.

Very good RSS presentation - weblogs, rss, trackback

I love this. Number one, to my shame, I've never come across Macromedia Breeze before (after already marvelling at Flash Paper and Contribute), sort of a more multimedia PowerPoint with wings, which - at least in this presentation - gets rid of repetitive bullet points that just reiterate the speaker's notes. Number two, it's a genuinely interesting exploration of how RSS can help with the discovery of useful objects (in this case for learning). So read Connecting Learning Objects..., which I found via Tom Smith at the Other Blog (or maybe it was his new Drupal-fired Other Other Blog.
Note to self: must explain some of this to our Training department so that we can think of internal RSS uses rather than just external ones.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Accessibility: It's not about ticking off boxes

I've been explaining to a number of people recently that even though their sites may meet w3c guidelines and bobby tests, they are still not "accessible". You have to:

  • see users in action;
  • understand their demands;
  • then work out to which areas you need to pay specific attention.

An article on called Accessibility Humanized covers most of the main points admirably.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Ia Meetup

Arranged an Information Architecture meet-up to speak to a couple of guys in Glasgow that do IA-related stuff, and we stupidly neglected to make any effort to identify ourselves to one another. Result? Crowded pub, me asking a bunch of people who look vaguely like one of the chaps' (saw his photo on his website) if they were him. Blank looks and strange glances for me in the Horseshoe Bar. Not much architecting of information there, eh?