Re: META: To my fellow Extropians, calc your ERA

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 17:35:21 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:
> Nowthen, remember that this is just a game, and
> you will not be placed in the matrix unless you ask
> to be in it. Should we mask individual's ratings to
> keep them secret? Or just people's ratings of each
> other? How would you do it, set up a website? Then
> each person would have a password that would
> allow them to see and change their own column
> only? I can write the scaling formulae if someone
> can set up a website.
> Who wants to play? I do! Anders? Brian?

I'll take a whack at it, if only because the first thought that crossed
my mind upon reading this was, "So how does one hack it?"

First hack: insert entries for phantom/nonexistant people, or only care
about a few people and use everyone else as "phantoms". Give the
phantoms the extreme opposite rating of what you give everyone else,
thus pushing your average rating away from the ratings you care about,
thus increasing their effect (if your own ERA is nonzero). Potential
counters: for the inserted entries, limit ability of non-admins to
create entries for users (though this runs into problems if user
creation is automatic, for instance if there is one entry for each
subscriber to a mailing list, but someone owns a mail server and
subscribes lots of addresses from that server); for the non-caring, not
sure, but the hack itself necessitates that the effect will be limited
to a few people.

Second hack: make sure the system's not popularized, to the point that
it does not truly reflect community opinion. This is more of a passive
failure, since the only "action" is negligence by the admins, though I
can see some ways of actively pursuing this.

That's just off the top of my head...except that a system like this
seems so simple, I think it likely that someone else has proposed
something like it, so maybe there's documentation on strengths and
weaknesses of this system somewhere on the Web. Not sure what terms
I'd chuck through Google et al to find it, though...

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