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RapLeaf, Whuffie and Strakh

RapLeaf is a website that offers visitors the opportunity to look up the "reputation" of individuals using their email addresses. It is also possible to leave feedback that affects the reputation of others.


(RapLeaf.com)

The RapLeaf.com site provides an interface for you to enter someone's email, and then provide a rating that is positive, negative or neutral. You are also asked to designate the nature of your interaction with that person (buyer, seller, swapper, friend), and provide a short comment to "give a qualitative aspect to the rating."


(RapLeaf rating)

Once you've entered your rating, an email is sent to the person you just rated, giving them an opportunity to rate you.

RapLeaf sounds a lot like Whuffie, the digital reputation system found in Cory Doctorow's 2003 novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. In the novel, all of the necessities and most of the luxuries of life are free for the taking, based to some extent on a person's Whuffie.

Whuffie is a kind of score, or measurement of reputation, based on the favorable or unfavorable opinions of all the people you meet. Push to the front of a coffee shop line and demand your brew - you lose Whuffie. Compose a new song, or write a well-received short story - you gain Whuffie. Whuffie substitutes for money in this post-scarcity economy.

Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you wouldn't starve; contrariwise, if you were rich and hated, no sum could buy you security and peace.
(Read more about whuffie)

Readers of Jack Vance will probably remember strakh, the social system on the Titanic littoral of the planet Sirene in Vance's brilliant 1976 story The Moon Moth. Food and resources are available in such abundance that money is meaningless; what matters is social standing and interaction:

Intricacy in all things: intricate craftsmanship... intricate symbolism... and above all the fantastic intricacy of personal relationships. Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh. Every man has his characteristic strakh, which determines, when he needs a houseboat, whether he will be urged to avail himself of a floating palace... or grudgingly permitted an abandoned shack on a raft. There is no medium of exchange on Sirene; the single and sole currency is strakh.
(Read more about strakh)

Via Bruce; see the RapLeaf.com web site (you can use bc@technovelgy.com if you want to affect my RapLeaf rep).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/18/2007)

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