F. Randall “Randy” Farmer has been creating online community systems for over 30 years, and has co-invented many of the basic structures for both virtual worlds and social software. His firsts include: one of the first multiplayer online games; one of the first message boards; the first virtual world; the first avatars; the first online marketplace; the first user newsfeed/friend feed (in Yahoo! 360°); the first multi-purpose reputation platform and grammar; and many other smaller firsts—several of which are documented in the form of various patents which are either granted or in process. He has co-authored numerous papers on the topics of virtual worlds and social media which have been published in books and across the Internet. His most widely read publication is entitled The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat, which he co-authored with Chip Morningstar. Lessons is cited in over 50 publications (according to Google publication search.)
For almost 5 years Randy worked as the community strategic analyst for Yahoo!, the world's largest Internet portal, advising Yahoo properties on best practices for construction of their online communities. Randy was the principal designer of Yahoo's global reputation platform and the reputation models that were deployed upon it:
- Yahoo! Mail antispam
- Yahoo! Answers troll and quality control
- Yahoo Message Boards message quality end-user karma
- And others…
Randy was also a co-author of the Yahoo Open Strategy initiative. After the completion of this book on reputation, he hopes to publish another book on the Yahoo! Open Strategy and one on his experiences from three decades of online community building, tentatively entitled: Context is King.
Randy is in high demand as a freelance social media/community systems design consultant and public speaker, and his online publications and interviews are widely read and cited.