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© Brian Whitworth Legitimate by Design Towards trusted social systems Reference: Whitworth, B. & de Moor, A. (2002). Legitimate by design: Towards trusted virtual community environments. Hawaii International Conference for the System Sciences, Hawaii. Organizational Systems and Technology – Community Informatics mini-track Web:
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Traditional vs Social IS Traditional IS - tools –We use a spreadsheet Social IS - social environments –We exist within a chat room CMSS = Computer-Mediated Social Systems (mediate social interaction) Social-technical gap: social requirements vs technical performance
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Social-Technical Gap Social-technical gap is the main problem of groupware today* Hardware System Software System Social System Support Support Social- Technical Gap *Ackerman, M.S., The intellectual challenge of CSCW: The gap between social requirements and technical feasibility. Human Computer Interaction, 2000,15: p SIS IS IT
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Example Privacy: Social right to control the display of information about oneself –Privacy is a public good (Regan, 1995) Software Industry Attitude: –'You have zero privacy anyway.' Sun Microsystems' CEO Scot McNealy said last year. 'Get over it.' –PC magazine comment - “He's right on the facts, wrong on the attitude.“ Social requirement IS performance
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Social Systems Elements are people who exchange meaning (cf nodes exchanging information) Aggregations are not social systems –Gold rush (physical environment) –Information rush (information environment) –Economic value is in the environment Social systems: –Generate social value (as social capital from social interaction) –Reduce social cost of interaction
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Conflict - A Social Cost When people in a common environment, seek incompatible actions on the same object(s) there can be conflict Conflict is a social interaction cost Example: two cars at an intersection –Both proceed and crash - both lose (group loses) –One gives way - one wins, one loses (group wins) For groups/communities internal conflict is always a loss –“A group divided cannot stand”
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Social Trust Trusted things behave as expected (i.e. low risk) Social environment trust - low risk of conflict with other people –We trust others on the road will behave as expected –Otherwise traffic would grind to a halt! Trust of the social environment derives from social meaning and is the key to community economic productivity
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Legitimacy Social perception of what actions are “right” or “fair” in conflict situations –Includes: privacy, copyright, censorship, trespass, intellectual property, libel, etc –Resolve action conflicts by right not might Implemented by: –law, sanctions, police, judiciary, education, norms, ethics, barriers, signs.. Varies with culture/country, but is a basis for social trust (cf personal trust, or physical trust)
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Law Law formally states legitimacy concepts –We use legitimacy concepts to make precedent decisions or interpret the law –Legality Legitimacy (a bad law) –ILLegitimacy ILLegality (if no law yet) –Laws without legitimacy inspire revolutions! Security => system is used as intended –Passwords to do things Legitimacy defines that intent –Who has what rights?
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Example Concept: One has a natural right to the fruits of one’s labor by virtue of that labor (Locke, 1690) –Gardeners make effort to grow flowers –Other people pass by, and pick them –Gardeners no longer grow flowers, or come into conflict with Pickers –Social group loses as there are no flowers (for Gardeners or Pickers), or there is conflict A social system that implements legitimacy via laws reduces social risks, becomes trusted, and increases community productivity (Gardeners grow and trade flowers)
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Creating social trust Common Environment Risk of Conflict Legitimacy Concepts Law, sanctions, judiciary, police Trusted Social System Stability & Prosperity
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Virtual Physical –Therefore laws must be reinvented from base legitimacy concepts Virtual 2 Virtual 1 –New s/w creates new situations that also require new laws, e.g. cookies Virtual environments can be the law –Any “right” (good or bad) can be imposed or nullified by the software design (Lessig, 1999) –e.g. Anonymous interaction means no accountability Jurisdiction: Whose law is the law? Implementing Cyber-Law
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Code is Law Traditional social methods of creating law are becoming –Often inapplicable (new situations) –Usually out of date (new software) –Easily bypassed (by software creators) Solution: Accommodate legitimacy requirements before the environment is created (as well as after) Legitimacy is now important in system design
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Creating online trust Common Environment Action Conflict Legitimacy Concepts Law, sanctions, judiciary, police Trusted Virtual Social System Design/Develop Legitimate CMSS
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Example - Luke vs Attila Attila, a kindly bulletin board controller, says an item added by Luke is offensive What can happen? What should happen? –Nothing - Luke can say anything he likes –Attila can delete the item forthwith –Attila can ban Luke from adding any items –Attila can refuse Luke entry to the BB –Attila can alter Luke’s name to “Bad-Luke” –Luke can rejoin as a new person and do it again –Attila can delete Luke and all his items –Luke can start a “revolution” and usurp Attila What if this occurs in a sub-board controlled by Ghengis, who likes Luke’s item?
© Brian Whitworth 2002, No Rules vs Dictatorship No Rules: –Everyone can view or delete Luke’s item –But if one person deletes it, the others have lost their right to view it! –“Might is right” becomes “first in first served” Dictatorship: –Attila has all rights to the item, Luke has none –History suggests this solution will not endure (because it seems unfair, i.e. is illegitimate)
© Brian Whitworth 2002, IS Rights An IS right is an allowed action, by an actor, upon or with an information object, or any part of it Since an information system is fully defined,all rights must be defined –If ownership implies rights to IS actions (add, delete, edit, view, move etc) –then all changeable IS objects must be owned (by one or more people)
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Creation & Delegation Axiomatic Right: The creator of an object initially owns it (by virtue of their effort of creation) Rights can be voluntarily transferred –Full transfer includes the right to transfer –Delegation of all rights except to transfer The delegatee cannot further delegate The delegator can take the right back Ownership Possession
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Persona Persona - IS object representing a person Axiomatic Right: Only the person represented can own a persona –“Own” => rights to delete, view, change, etc –This right supercedes creation rights –“Freedom” is a legitimate social right in cyberspace –Slavery is not legitimate (e.g. the “virtual rape” by Mr Bungle)
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Space Space - IS object that contains other objects –Every object must exist in a space (system environment is the first space) –Spaces can limit visibility and presence Creating an object in a space changes that space, so is an action upon the space –Axiomatic Right: The space owner (SO) has the original right to create objects in that space –SO can’t transfer the right to create Transfer would mean they no longer own the space –SO delegates the right to create (in whole or part) –SO delegate/transfers the right to enter a space
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Attila vs Luke Who owns created items? –If Attila delegates creation rights, Luke owns the items he created Cannot both delegate and not delegate –Mailbox fallacy - that who owns the space (mailbox) owns the items in it (mail) Attila the bulletin board owner: –Cannot edit Luke’s submitted items –Cannot alter or delete Luke’s persona –Can withdraw right to create from Luke –Can refuse Luke entry rights to the space
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Display Display - is an action with one object upon the space around it –Hence the space owner and the item owner jointly own the right to display –Attila can Reject the item (refuse to display it) - but Luke still sees it –Luke can Withdraw the item from public display - but Attila still sees it –C.f. Putting a notice on a board in a supermarket
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Legitimacy benefits Luke –Still sees his item, marked “rejected”, and has not lost his effort (can still print and copy it) –Does not think it was accidentally deleted and re-submit it –Can modify the item and resubmit it –Knows adding item again can result in exclusion –Luke’s other “good” items remain valid Advantage: Sharing rights in legitimate ways allows Attila and Luke to agree on how the social environment operates
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Spaces within Spaces Can Attila give Ghengis the right to create a sub-board (list, chat, MUD etc) ? –No - to do so would in effect mean Attila no longer owns the main board –Attila must create (and own) the sub-board, then delegate it to Ghengis Can Attila reject items in a sub-board delegated to Ghengis? –No, Attila can take back the sub-board, then reject the items (but Ghengis might be offended) Legitimate rights define a space of allowable actions between Attila and Ghengis
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Further issues Dependent items (comments) Targeted items (Mail) Linked items (chat/ conversations) Autonomous groups (voting democracies) View rights to (e.g. censorship as the right not to view) Stewardship
© Brian Whitworth 2002, Conclusion SIS builders must represent social requirements in system design –Most future IS will have a social aspect –For an SIS, the community is the “user”, and legitimacy is its “requirement” –Common sense & trial and error are not enough –Future designers, our students, should learn legitimacy analysis in system design courses Virtual social environments should be legitimate by design
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