October 01, 2013

Social Networks, Identity, Psudonyms, & Influence Podcast Episodes

Here are the first 4 episodes of The Social Media Clarity Podcast:

  1. Social Network: What is it, and where do I get one? (mp3) 26 Aug 2013
  2. HuffPo, Identity, and Abuse (mp3) 5 Sep 2013  NEW
  3. Save our Pseudonyms! (Guest: Dr. Bernie Hogan) (mp3) 16 Sep 2013  NEW
  4. Influence is a Graph (mp3) 30 Sep 2013  NEW
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January 24, 2011

A Review for programmers

A review aimed at engineers just went up over at

Building Web Reputation Systems
Author: Randy Farmer and Bryce Glass
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2010
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0596159795
Aimed at: Web designers and developers who want to incorporate feedback
Rating: 4
Pros: Valuable advice based on real experience
Cons: Could be improved by a different order of chapters
Reviewed by: Lucy Black

...The book concludes with a real-life case study based on Yahoo! Answers Community Content Moderation. This makes interesting reading and gives a context for what has gone before. It left me wondering whether I might have got more from the rest of the book had I read it first - but of course with this type of book you wont just read once and set aside. You'll refer to it for help as the need arises - and there is an index that will help you locate specific information.

At the end of the day I realised I'd gleaned a lot of useful and practical advice but it would have been an easier experience with just a little reorganisation of the material.

January 13, 2011

New Book Review of Building Web Reputation Systems

Architecture, SOA, BPM, EAI, Cloud has a review of Building Web Reputation Systems...

"...Book is light read but certainly deserve an attentive read and particularly from product designers and who ever involved in product conceptualization..."

It also contains a great set of book related links...

September 29, 2010

BWRS on Kindle Web - Try before you buy!

You can now read the Kindle edition of Building Web Reputation Systems on the web (search, print, etc.) and it is much cheaper than the paper version. Here's the free sample:

July 13, 2010

5 Reputation Missteps [video] @Google 7/1

I gave a solo version of the 5 Reputation Missteps (and how to avoid them) at Google as a tech-talk, and the video is up:

I'm afraid I don't do anywhere as well with Bryce's portions as he does, but this is one of the better solo presentations I've given...

If you'd like Bryce and I to respond to any comments/questions you have, please leave your comments here instead of on the video - we don't get email notifications there...

May 05, 2010

Web2.0 Expo Talk — 5 Reputation Missteps

The slides from our presentation yesterday at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. We will soon be adding all speaker's notes into the full version on Slideshare.

April 01, 2010

Guest Post over on There’s a Whole Lotta Crap Out There

We've guest posted over at outlining a content-quality scale.

Content at the higher end of the scale should be rewarded, trumpeted, and showcased.
Stuff on the lower registers will either be ignored, hidden or reported to the authorities.

Read the post

March 20, 2010

Thursday 3/25 ship date for BWRS from Amazon

A few of our friends have shared that is shipping Building Web Reputation Systems this week, on Thursday 3/25/10. Bryce and I received our author's copies yesterday...

March 18, 2010

[Updated 3/31] We're presenting at Web2.0 Expo on May 4th

Designing Reputation Systems

F. Randall Farmer (MSB Associates), Bryce Glass (Manta Media, Inc.)
2:35pm Tuesday, 05/04/2010
Location: Room 2001

Designing a reputation system is hard. Do it right, and you’re likely to draw from disciplines as disparate as computer science, sociology, user experience design and behavioral economics. Do it wrong, and you could wreak horrible downstream effects on the morale, motivations and mindset of your community.

We often design web reputation systems by drawing from easily-available examples on the Web, but this is an impoverished approach; it often leads the designer to settle on a design solution before they’ve properly understood the context, and framed the design problem. This is cargo-cult design at its worst, and leads to such “common sense” fallacies as…

  • “It’s The People, Dummy!”

When you think of reputation on the Web, do you just assume that it applies chiefly to people? This is only partially true. Reputation applies to things as well, and—in fact—it’s almost impossible to know a person’s reputation without evaluating the reputation of things.

  • “One Reputation To Rule Them All”

Do you think that someone’s Ebay Seller Reputation should follow them onto Facebook? Should Slashdot karma matter over on Reddit? Some very smart people have fallen victim to this fallacy: the belief that one reputation is enough to accurately convey “the measure of a man.”

  • “All I Need is Five Stars”

Ratings input mechanisms fall into, and out of, vogue. Once it was 5-Stars, then it was Digg-style upvoting, now Facebook’s ‘Like’ holds the crown. If you’re tempted to start with a ratings scheme in mind, and then back-design a system to justify it, proceed with caution. (Includes a bonus fallacy: “Of course I need a down-vote!”)

  • “Competition is Always Good”

Feeling inspired by game-like elements? Levels, points and leaderboards? Just make sure that they influence the right kind of behavior, and don’t assume a level of community competition that may, or may not, be appropriate.

  • “Negative Karma Will Out the Bad Guys”

What’s the best way to identify the bad actors in your community? Why, label them, of course! Wrong—you should employ negative karma sparingly, and display it almost never.

The authors of Building Web Reputation Systems (O’Reilly, 2010) will debunk these fallacies, and a couple of others besides, drawing on real-life examples of actual deployed reputation systems from some of our industry’s biggest names: EA, Google, Yahoo! and Ebay. You might be surprised at how pervasive, and persistent, these fallacies have been through the years. But don’t worry—we’ll also tell you how to avoid falling into the same old traps!

March 14, 2010

The first copies spotted at SWSX

RT @freshelectrons Building Web Reputation Systems prerelease copy driving buzz @OReillyMedia booth #yahoopress #sxsw

March 10, 2010

Electronic Versions of BWRS On Sale Now

Please forgive us if the Reputation Wednesday posts for a few weeks are focused on book-release related information. We're first time authors and find every one of these personal firsts terribly exciting!
The electronic versions of Building Web Reputation Systems are now for sale at O'!

You can read it on Safari and/or you can by a downloadable version as a color PDF, Mobi, Android, or ePub file These versions are great on your computer and can be read on most mobile devices.All of the electronic versions have both the internal references and the web URLs hot-linked, which is great for a book like ours.

There's also a bundle combining the print and ebook editions at a significant savings. Search the digital version to find correct section in the physical book. Save $20.00!

Randy's iPhone [Stanza ePub fmt]

Update:eBooks version now includes Android format.

March 02, 2010

Coming to SxSW: Production Copies of Building Web Reputation Systems!

Bryce and I are happy to announce that Building Web Reputation Systems has gone to the printers! We're absolutely excited to share this news with you all today. It's hard to believe it's been more than a year since we started. Thank you so much to all who've been reading our work as we developed it and providing such helpful feedback—it wouldn't be half as good as it is without you!

The book will hit the retail shelves on 4/1, but if you can't wait that long you have 2 options: (1) early copies will be available from the O'Reilly booth at SxSW!; and (2) there are some eBook codes that will be made available for those willing to review the book and post it online—see the booth or contact us via email (our address is over there → in the sidebar.) I guess it will depend on your blogging karma score. :-)

If Amazon sales rank is any indicator, sales are already picking up, so it seems that, after mobbing the SxSW booth, the fastest way to get a paper copy is to preorder at O'Reilly,
Amazon, Borders, or your favorite book retailer.

For those of you who don't already know what this book is about, here's the back cover copy:

What do Amazon's product reviews, eBay's feedback score system, Slashdot's Karma System, and Xbox Live's Achievements have in common? They're all examples of successful reputation systems that enable consumer websites to manage and present user contributions most effectively. This book shows you how to design and develop reputation systems for your own sites or web applications, written by experts who have designed web communities for Yahoo! and other prominent sites.

Building Web Reputation Systems helps you ask the hard questions about these underlying mechanisms, and why they're critical for any organization that draws from or depends on user-generated content. It's a must-have for system architects, product managers, community support staff, and UI designers.

  • Scale your reputation system to handle an overwhelming inflow of user contributions
  • Determine the quality of contributions, and learn why some are more useful than others
  • Become familiar with different models that encourage first-class contributions
  • Discover tricks of moderation and how to stamp out the worst contributions quickly and efficiently
  • Engage contributors and reward them in a way that gets them to return
  • Examine a case study based on actual reputation deployments at industry-leading social sites, including Yahoo!, Flickr, and eBay

September 14, 2009

Chapter 10: Application Integration, Testing & Tuning is up

We're proud to announce that Chapter 10: Application Integration, Testing & Tuning is now drafted and ready for those of you hearty enough to consume raw, unedited content..

Table of Contents:
  • We're starting to come into the home stretch with only two chapters remaining unwritten and the formal review process ramping up. It's getting pretty exciting.

    September 02, 2009

    Chapters 3 (Architecture) & 9 (Uses) Are Up

    Reputation Wednesday is an ongoing series of essays about reputation-related matters. This week's entry introduces two new chapters in our book.

    The wiki for Building Web 2.0 Reputation systems has been updated with two new chapters that are very different from each other.

    Chapter 3 - The Reputation Sandbox is a fairly technical discussion of the execution environment for reputation models and establishing the product requirements to construct just such a sandbox. If that last sentence didn't make any sense to you, this technically oriented chapter can safely be skipped. Perhaps you will like something from the next one...

    Chapter 9 - Using Reputation: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly presents a whole host of reputation-driven strategies for improving content quality (and the perception of said) on your community-driven site. This chapter will interest UX designers, product- and community-managers and social architects of all stripes.

    No excerpts this time around folks. For their respective audiences, we think the chapters themselves are packed with chewy goodness.

    August 26, 2009

    Tag, You're It!

    Reputation Wednesday is an ongoing series of essays about reputation-related matters. This week's entry shares some news about the production and design of our book, and asks for your help in pushing it forward to completion.

    This is very exciting for us. We're close enough to draft-complete that our wonderful editor at O'Reilly, Mary, went ahead and pulled the trigger on our cover-art! Earlier this week, she shared this with us, passed along from O'Reilly Creative Director Edie Freedman.


    We love it. It's a beautiful parrot, and I really like the timeless, classic appeal of it. (To be honest, I can't believe that no animal cover has featured a parrot before now. But it's true.)

    For those of you paying attention, yes we did share your animal suggestions with the creative team at ORA. They enjoyed them immensely and then—true to the admonition that leads off that page—set them aside and picked this big beautiful bird. (Or 'boo-wuh' as my toddler son says after repeat viewings on Daddy's laptop.) We're pleased with the end result, and excited to see the book coming thismuchcloser to reality.

    However… we still need your help! All O'Reilly books feature a tagline, and we need some good suggestions. To accompany the written proposal for the book, Randy found a fun little "O'Reilly cover generator" somewhere online, and the tagline he provided to that was "Ratings, Reviews and Karma, Oh My!" That effort was only semi-facetious—it does highlight some of the principal patterns and methods discussed in the book. Not easy to do in 2 lines of text.

    So, please—if you've been following the progress of the book and have some ideas about a tagline, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment on this page.

    August 03, 2009

    Chapters 5 and 7 Ready for Review

    We've been busy boys over here on, though—unless you were paying careful attention—you might not have noticed. We've fallen victim to something that strikes all authors (we suspect) and have been so busy drafting, outlining, writing & revising that we've had a hard time keeping up with this site, and promoting the ongoing progress on the book.

    The good news is, we're more than half-way to Draft Complete status. (Check out that sidebar on the wiki. 7 chapters down, only 5 to go!) So we have a plan for returning our attentions to this site, and growing the audience here that will continue to feed insight and course-corrections into the remaining chapters. (That's the theory anyway. Have we mentioned that this Unbook stuff is harder than we thought it would be?)

    The really good news is this: Chapters Five and Seven are now draft-complete and ready for your review. A bit about each…

    Continue reading "Chapters 5 and 7 Ready for Review" »

    June 06, 2009

    Content Control Patterns - From Chapter 6

    In the first draft of chapter 6 of our book on reputation system design we begin guiding the reader through a process to create their own reputation model. We start by helping identify the business and other goals they have for their application/site, and quickly move on to what kind control model they have in mind for users creating and interacting with content: What we're calling Content Control Patterns. These patterns have general applicability when talking about all social media design, so we wanted to share them widely and gather feedback as early as possible. We'd especially like suggestions for better names for the patterns.

    The individual CCPs (Content Control Patterns) are detailed over on the wiki, so be sure to click through on one of the pattern names or images.

    --- Begin Excerpt ---

    Whether you need reputation at all, and the particular models that will serve you best, are largely a function of how content is generated and managed on your site. Consider the workflow and life-cycle of content that you have planned for your community, and the various actors that will influence that workflow.

    First, who will be touching your communities content-will users be doing the bulk of content creation and management? Or staff? (We'll generically refer to these people as 'staff', but they could be people under your employ, or trusted third-party content providers, or even 'deputized' members of the community, depending on the level of trust & validation that you put into them.)

    In most communities, you'll find that content control is a function of some combination of users and staff. Therefore, it's worth our while to dissect the types of activities that each might be doing. Consider all the potential activities around the content lifecycle at a very granular level:

    • Who will draft the content?
    • Will anyone edit it, or otherwise determine its readiness for publishing?
    • Who is responsible for actually publishing it to your site?
    • Can anyone edit content that's live?
    • Can live content be evaluated in some way? Who will do that?
    • What effect does evaluation have on content?
      • Promote or demote its prominence?
      • Remove it altogether from the site?

    While you'll ultimately have to answer all of these questions, at this stage these fine-grained questions can be abstracted somewhat. Right now, there are really three questions you need to pay attention to:

    1. Who will create the content on your site? Users or staff?
    2. Who will evaluate the content?
    3. Who has responsibility for removing content that is inappropriate?

    There are eight different content control patterns for each unique combination of answering the questions above. Each pattern has unique characteristics when considering what reputation systems you may, or may not, wish to consider for your application. For convenience, we've given each pattern a name: Web 1.0, Submit-Publish, Bug Report, Reviews, Surveys, Agents, Basic Social Media, The Full Monty, but these names are just place holders for discussion, they are not a suggestion to recategorize your product marketing. We will now cover each of these content control patterns in detail so you will understand the implications and ramifications of each.

    Web 1.0 Submit-Publish
    Bug Report Basic Social Media
    Reviews Agents
    Surveys The Full Monty
    The Content Control Patterns for communities of content. These largely determine the amount, and types, of reputation models that you will need.
    If you have multiple content control patterns, consider them all and focus on any shared reputation opportunities. For example, you may have a community site with a hierarchy of categories that are created, evaluated and removed by staff, but perhaps the content within that hierarchy is created by users. In that case, two patterns apply: the staff-tended category tree is an example of the Web 1.0 content control pattern and as such it can effectively be ignored when selecting your reputation models. Focus instead on the options suggested by the Submit-Publish pattern formed by the users populating the tree.

    April 23, 2009

    Mind your grammar

    We're very excited to announce a new draft chapter is up on the wiki! We've been a little quiet these past weeks as we wrestled with the material for Chapter 2: A Grammar for Reputation because it's so central to the rest of the book. This chapter outlines a visual language for documenting & designing reputation systems (and models, and statements, and…)

    Once you, the reader (and um, we the authors—we're still at least partially figuring this out ourselves!) become conversant in the concepts and the language prescribed, we'll use this language throughout the rest of the book to build ever-more involved reputation models and illustrate some well-known case studies such as Digg-style vote-to-promote systems, or some effective abuse mitigation systems that we've worked on during our time at Yahoo!

    So, please do review Chapter 2: A Grammar for Reputation and share your thoughts, either as comments on the wiki or here on the blog. This chapter is something unlike what we've published here so far, and we hope that it's an important milestone in thinking about—and talking about—reputation in a systemic and structured way.

    January 27, 2009

    Chapter Summaries

    Up to now, if you'd visited any of the not-yet-drafted Chapter pages over on the wiki, you would've seen... well, nothing! It occurred to Randy and me that this was probably not the best way to solicit public comment. This is particularly problematic because it's exactly at this stage—before we've drafted a chapter—when comments and direction are most valuable.

    So today Randy migrated most of the content over from the proposal that we presented to Yahoo! and O'Reilly for the book, so each incomplete chapter now features a SUMMARY direct from our book proposal. These summaries are sketchy outlines for the chapters contents that hopefully call out concepts that we're anticipating.

    Please check them out, and add comments with suggestions for additions, or questions on what's already there. This guidance is invaluable as we embark on each new chapter. Here are the incomplete chapters, to get you started:
    Chapter 2: A Grammar for Reputation
    Chapter 3: Execution Environments for Reputation
    Chapter 4: Basic Building Blocks
    Chapter 5: Simple, Common Models
    Chapter 6: Consider Your Goals
    Chapter 7: Objects, Inputs, Scope & Mechanism
    Chapter 9: Application Integration, Testing & Tuning
    Chapter 10: Keeping Your Reputation Community Healthy
    Chapter 11: Case Studies

    January 04, 2009

    Our Plans

    It's worthwhile to pause a second, and discuss our plans for this website. We think they're pretty straightforward, so bare with us... this'll be quick. (Oh, and subject to change as well—Randy and I are first-time authors, learning as we go here. So don't hold us to anything.)

    This thing you're reading right now? This is our blog. (Duh.) You probably have seen one of these before. You probably have one of these, or several. (Or you did before you left them moldering and neglected to go play on Twitter all day long.) We're going to use this blog as a really freewheelin' discussion generation engine.

    So some entries that appear here will definitely be destined for the book. Others might merely be top-of-the-head musings, or content that probably won't make it into the book. Unless you decide otherwise: entries that generate a lot of discussion will be promoted in the ranking of 'things we think people will want to know about reputation systems.' And, of course—because this is a blog—sometimes we'll just point to reputation-related links and current happenings, often with a bit of commentary.

    The other major component to this site will be a wiki, that will house the in-progress draft of the book! This will come online soon, with our first chapter already roughed in. Again, we're kinda making this up as we go (though drawing inspiration where we can from other O'Reilly titles like Designing Social Interfaces and Real World Haskell.) Our current thinking on the wiki is that we may not enable full-text editing of chapters just yet—this is related more to our authoring-and-publishing workflow (which, again, is a work-in-progress. Are you sensing a theme here?) But there will certainly be a rich commenting capability and a couple pairs of eager ears to hear your voice.

    We hope that those of you who are really interested in this stuff will spend a decent amount of time on both sides of the site. By all means, subscribe to the feed for the blog, leave comments, trackbacks and the like. But we're also really hoping that you leave some time for a deeper read over on the wiki. There's alot to be said about reputation online, and sometimes you just can't fit this stuff in a bite-size tweet!

    (Oh, and—as soon as we figure out this XML-based Docbook-to-dokuwiki-to-html-and-back-again publishing scheme that Randy is working on, I'm gonna insist that he write a colophon entry. I think some of you will find it incredibly useful.)

    December 19, 2008

    A Reputable Blog

    Hello, and welcome to our brand-new blog, which is a companion site to our in-progress book: Building Web 2.0 Reputation Systems. "We," in this case are F. Randall (Randy) Farmer and Bryce Glass. (Of course, we'll introduce ourselves in a little more detail soon.) The book will be a Yahoo! Press release, published by O'Reilly Media.

    As the name would suggest, Building will be all about the design considerations (technical-, community- and user-experience-related) of deploying reputation systems for social media sites. It's a topic that we feel passionately about (and one that's timely) and our hope is that this blog—and an accompanying wiki—will afford you, our gentle reader, the opportunity to engage in this process with us.

    Our editors at O'Reilly have basically given us carte blanche to share material from the book well in advance of publication, in whatever format we see fit. We anticipate that this may be a messy process (at least at first) and possibly not suitable for the faint-of-heart.
    Some of you may ask "How open could you possibly be? Why would I buy the book if all the material is out there on the Web?" Our answer to this is simple: with this site and the accompanying wiki, we're making an earnest attempt to embody the principles of the Unbook philosophy.

    By becoming part of this community and participating in any fashion (comments are welcome, edits to wiki pages even better!) you should be prepared to see the sausage being made. In fact, we hope you add a liberal dash of your own spice! At some point (Fall of 2009, God-willing!) all of this effort will yield a tangible, physical, and nicely-formatted benefit: a hearty meal that anyone can sit down and enjoy.

    So don't grab that napkin, just yet—no, first let's us reach for some aprons...