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On the Epistemic Value of Reputation: The Place of Ratings and Reputational Tools in Knowledge Organization 11 th International ISKO Conference Rome, February.

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Presentation on theme: "On the Epistemic Value of Reputation: The Place of Ratings and Reputational Tools in Knowledge Organization 11 th International ISKO Conference Rome, February."— Presentation transcript:

1 On the Epistemic Value of Reputation: The Place of Ratings and Reputational Tools in Knowledge Organization 11 th International ISKO Conference Rome, February 23-26 2010 Gloria Origgi & Judith Simon Institut Jean Nicod ENS-EHESS-CNRS Paris, France

2 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

3 Guiding Questions –How to use reputation for epistemic purpose? –Whats the epistemic value of reputation? –Is this a good thing or a bad thing? REPUTATION: Overview

4 Different methods of quantifying, assessing & propagating reputation Further Information on: http://project.liquidpub.org http://liquidpub.wordpress.com REPUTATION: Background: LiquidPub

5 REPUTATION: Background Thesis: Types of Epistemic Sociality

6 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

7 REPUTATION: Introduction Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Matteson_Scarlet_Letter.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Letter Sinner Hero Drunkard Reputation as Heuristic: Reputation as a way to classify social types within the community that will allow its member to manage their relations with others, to make inferences and predictions about their behavior, i.e. to construct a basic "social map" that will help them orient in their society.

8 REPUTATION: Introduction Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Matteson_Scarlet_Letter.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Letter Sinner Hero Drunkard Reputation as Heuristic: Reputation as a way to classify social types within the community that will allow its member to manage their relations with others, to make inferences and predictions about their behavior, i.e. to construct a basic "social map" that will help them orient in their society. Morally questionable! CENSORED!

9 Reputation as social information about the value of people, systems and processes that release information. Focus: relationship between this special form of social information and the processes of knowledge organization and evaluation. More precisely, we argue not only that –(1) we make use of other people's reputations to evaluate information in various ways –(2) within systems, like the Web, that make possible the easy and dynamic organization and re-organization of knowledge, we also use our own rankings to determine new content and generate new categories. REPUTATION: and Knowledge Organization

10 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

11 Reputation is the informational track of our past actions, it is the credibility that an agent or an item earn through repeated interactions. Reputational Cues are indicators/proxies of reputation where quality of objects or agents cannot be directly assessed Relying on reputational cues is an efficient way of shaping the too rich informational landscape around us by creating new relevant categories. REPUTATION: as Evaluative Social Information

12 In an information-dense environment, where sources are in constant competition to get attention and the option of the direct verification of the information is often simply not available at reasonable costs, evaluation and rankings are epistemic tools and cognitive practices that provide an inevitable shortcut to information Modest Prediction: The higher the uncertainty on the content of information, the stronger is the weight of the opinions of others in order to establish the quality of this content. REPUTATION: as Evaluative Social Information

13 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

14 REPUTATION: A Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Lehrer & Wagner (1981) Rational Consensus in Science and Society Proposes a model for rational decision making processes in science, society and the arts that makes epistemic use of reputation It rests upon the employment of consensual probabilities, utilities and weights For decision making processes to be rational, it is central that all evidence or empirical information available for the topic of concern has to be used Experimental + Social Information

15 REPUTATION: A Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Social information = information about the expertise of other experts on issues at hand = Reputation Example: Expert Dilemma: Do we need to vaccinate large parts of the population to prevent a pandemie? –Step 1: each expert gives a weights other experts competency –Step 2: weights are laid open –Step 3: revision of own weights taking the others assessment into account depending on the weights assigned to them –Repeat cycle till consensus is achieved… Once these consensual weights are achieved, they can be applied to answering the question of concern by weighting each members votes on the issue with their consensual personal weight.

16 Lehrer & Wagner propose a model of how to rationally reach consensus that rests upon the epistemic use of reputation This implies that reputational information, i.e. social information about other people that is evaluative, is epistemically useful. Do we need such formal models? Epistemic use of reputational cues does not have to follow such a formal method. But on the Web, models similar to this one are embedded and hidden within different applications. REPUTATION: A Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation

17 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

18 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web http://www.briansolis.com/2008/08/introducing-conversation-prism/

19 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web What the Web makes possible today is an algorithmic treatment of methods of gathering social information to extract knowledge. Ratings and rankings on the Web are the result of collective human registered activities with artificial devices. However, the control of the heuristics and techniques that underlie this dynamics of information may be out of sight or incomprehensible for the users who find themselves in the very vulnerable position of relying on external sources of information through a dynamic, machine-based channel of communication whose heuristics and biases are not under their control. Thus, the reputational tools that are proliferating on the Web should be scrutinized by epistemically responsible users who do not want to accept too naïvely the outcome of a process they do not control.

20 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web

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23 Interestingness ! There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/

24 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web Interestingness ! There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/ Interestingness is a new category based on reputational mechanisms, making use of different proxies whose weight and combination is not obvious!

25 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web Reputational tools get more and more central on the Web Rankings and Ratings provide new arrangements of information Early years of 2000: focus on personalized information (My- Features) Now: trend towards systems of shared preferences, were people can rely on others preferences and rankings to construct there own access to and categorization of information Examples: –Flickrs Interestingess –Twitter-Logic of Followers and Leaders –LiquidJournal: people or groups create their own journals by selecting (existing) content and making it available via their selection

26 REPUTATION: Problems for the Epistemic Use of Reputation So, all is well, or?

27 REPUTATION: Problems for the Epistemic Use of Reputation So, all is well, or? Well, not quite…

28 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

29 1.The danger of misuse of reputation: danger of epistemic injustice (Fricker 2007), judging epistemic credibility and social identity (Alcoff 2001) –Using proxies that are not valid to assess the reputation and epistemic credibility of epistemic agents (gender, race, nationality, institutional background,…) testimonial injustice occurs when prejudice causes a hearer to give a deflated level of credibility to a speakers word ((Fricker 2007) 1) REPUTATION: Problems for the Epistemic Use of Reputation

30 2. Limits of the epistemic usefulness of reputation itself –How to calculate reputational values in the first place? –What are the pros and cons of different methods: e.g. peer review versus Amazon-type ratings? –Which proxies should be used and how should they be combined? –Stability of reputation over time? –Transferability of reputation over domains? 3. Lack of transparency of reputational algorithms and metrics –How should users be responsible knowers if they do not understand the functioning, the strengths and weaknesses of different mechanisms? –How to detect biases, if the mechanisms are not laid open? –Need to make these mechanisms visible and understandable REPUTATION: Problems for the Epistemic Use of Reputation

31 Background Introduction Reputation as Evaluative Social Information A Rational Model for the Epistemic Use of Reputation Reputational Tools on the Web Problems with the Epistemic Use of Reputation Conclusions REPUTATION: Overview

32 Ratings and reputational tools in knowledge organization have epistemological, practical as well as ethical implications. –Epistemological questions: How epistemically warranted is the use of these tools? –Practical questions: How to develop these mechanisms? Which proxies to use, how to combine and weigh them? Whats the status of these new types of classes, such as interestingness? Can ratings and ranking serve as middle-ground categorizations? –Ethical and political question: Epistemic injustices & lack of transparency: Once reputation mechanisms become formalized and are embedded within tools, there is a clear danger that epistemic injustices are inscribed in and reinforced by technology. REPUTATION: Conclusions

33 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? REPUTATION: Conclusions

34 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? Both - it is useful and dangerous. But either way, reputational information, different reputational proxies and methods of quantifying and combining them are being used extensively on the Web and elsewhere. REPUTATION: Conclusions

35 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? Both - it is useful and dangerous. But either way, reputational information, different reputational proxies and methods of quantifying and combining them are being used extensively on the Web and elsewhere. An additional problem on the Web concerns the lack of visibility: for the users the metrics and algorithms behind different reputation tools are often unknown. REPUTATION: Conclusions

36 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? Both - it is useful and dangerous. But either way, reputational information, different reputational proxies and methods of quantifying and combining them are being used extensively on the Web and elsewhere. An additional problem on the Web concerns the lack of visibility: for the users the metrics and algorithms behind different reputation tools are often unknown. There is an epistemic duty of epistemologists and knowledge organization scholars to thoroughly analyze these different reputational practices from epistemological, ethical and political perspectives. REPUTATION: Conclusions

37 Thank you for your attention! Contact Judith Simon Institut Jean Nicod Ecole Normale Supérieure 29, rue d'Ulm F-75005 Paris email: judith.simon@ens.fr www: http://www.institutnicod.org tel: +33 (0) 1 443 22 6464 fax: +33 (0) 1 443 22 699 REPUTATION

38 Two major problems of using reputation for epistemic purpose 1)the use of reputation to assess content can be epistemically beneficial while being morally questionable 2) limits of the epistemic usefulness of reputation itself REPUTATION: Problems for the Epistemic Use of Reputation

39 We want to explore the epistemic value of reputation, while being aware of the ethical and political problems that might come with using it for epistemic purpose. Using the judgment on past records to classify an agent or an item can be epistemologically useful in the absence or - as is especially relevant today - overabundance of information. But it has to be and remain open to constant scrutiny and revision to be epistemically useful and ethically just. REPUTATION: as Evaluative Social Information

40 REPUTATION: Reputational Tools on the Web Early years of 2000: focus on personalized information (My- Features) Now: trend towards systems of shared preferences, were people can rely on others preferences and rankings to construct there own access to and categorization of information Examples: –Flickrs Interestingess –Twitter-Logic of Followers and Leaders –LiquidJournal: people or groups create their own journals by selecting (existing) content and making it available via their selection

41 Epistemic Use and Value of Reputation as ongoing inquiry by two authors fuelled by different sources REPUTATION: Background

42 Two authors - Two perspectives

43 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? Both - it is useful and dangerous. REPUTATION: Conclusions

44 What is the epistemic values of reputation? Is it useful? Or rather dangerous? Both - it is useful and dangerous. But either way, reputational information, different methods or reputational cues of assessing it are being used extensively on the Web and elsewhere. REPUTATION: Conclusions


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