Monday, June 25, 2007

Identity tools for revenge

"The internet needs more hate." So says the opening paragraph introducing the Utu Project. Why Utu?

Utu is the Maori word for a tribal system of justice that involved the near trading of revenge and payment for deeds done by others. The system keeps everything balanced in Maori society by enforcing a controlled system of retribution and favor between tribal members. It was the perfect name for my system. It also is the name of the Sumerian Sun god who watches over the dead, and it’s a name for various systems of retribution in some parts of Africa.
What's it about?

We’re overrun by morons, assholes, griefers, spammers, porn peddlers, Nazi dictators, little Napoleons, and arbitrary censors who only behave in their socially deficient manner because they know you can’t do anything about it. In the real world you would tell them to screw off personally. You’d call the police. You’d move to the other side of the room and tell all your friends to ignore them. You’d punch them in the face for the things they said about you and your family. You’d never give anyone with that much acne control over anything in your life.

Utu’s goal is to improve the quality of communications on the Internet by introducing cryptographic models of processes found in existing human social interactions.

In short…the internet needs identity, reputation, and retribution.

How's it work?

  1. Strong Identity - Without strong identity people fall into the mob mentality so common in lynchings and most of the history of human stupidity.
  2. Reputation - Without reputations we can’t avoid people who have a history of being total jerk wads, but you can’t have reputation without strong identities.
  3. Retribution - Without retribution you can’t defend yourself against the people you know about even if you knew their reputation was bad. It’s like a world where everyone is a corrupt police officer.
I especially like that retribution part - but this could get lot's of folks interested in Reputation and Identity who've been blasé about it until now.

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