Chapter 5. Planning Your System’s Design

Parts I and II were theory—a comprehensive description of the graphical grammar and the tools needed to conceptualize reputation systems. The remaining chapters put all of that theory into practice. We describe how to define the requirements for a reputation model; design web interfaces for the gathering of user evaluations; provide patterns for the display and utilization of reputation; and provide advice on implementation, testing, tuning, and understanding community effects on your system.

Every reputation system starts as an idea from copying a competitor’s model or doing something innovative. In our experience, that initial design motivation usually ignores the most important questions that should be asked before rushing into such a long-term commitment.

Asking the Right Questions

When you’re planning a reputation system—as in most endeavors in life—you’ll get much better answers if you spend a little time up front considering the right questions. This is the point where we pause to do just that. We explore some very simple questions: why are we doing this? What do we hope to get out of it? How will we know we’ve succeeded?

The answers to these questions undoubtedly will not be quite so simple. Community sites on the Web vary wildly in makeup, involving different cultures, customs, business models, and rules for behavior. Designing a successful reputation system means designing a system that’s successful for your particular set of circumstances. ...

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