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notebook 22jan10

* "reputation economy" is a particularly ’00s thing to be thinking about, but it’s been on my mind tonight.

* reputation economy is the "but" in "he/she’s a dick, but…" Look at the shit Cory gets on and around BoingBoing when he posts about his work; and yet the material he hunts down and brings to the table there buys him (reputation) (indulgence) (kudos)

* and in turn, when Cory/Xeni/operator directs the attention of the people at the table to something Cory/Xeni/operator deems worthwile, their (reputation) sends eyes and ears along that line to the something

* "hunting" and "table" are metaphors speaking to a pre-reputation-economy space: this is in fact still the era of The Feudal Internet, and "reputation economy" does not express in a manner as civilised as the term might suggest. It expresses as Clout.

clout (klout)


1.A blow, especially with the fist.

a.BaseballA long powerful hit.
b.SportsAn archery target.

a.Influence; pull:"Women in dual-earner households are gaining in job status and earnings … giving them more clout at work and at home"(Sue Shellenbarger).
b.Power; muscle.

(and, hahah)

4.Chiefly Midland U.S.A piece of cloth, especially a baby’s diaper.

Not a subtle thing. But it’s what gets the job done in a Feudal Internet where money = access and no-one wants you to read news on a freesheet in the street anymore.

* (it’s called "notebook," not "reasoned, polished and fully-baked discourse")

Published in notebook


  1. Love to see more of these type posts Warren.

  2. mark mark

    dear internet jesus

    Infomation is power…

    reputation on the net is based on that.

    And as kings of the new age goes You, yes YOU, do have a holy slut army that You can use…

    I come to the site every day for an update of cool… now that’s power.

  3. Canadian Ev Canadian Ev

    Hmmm… just reading Charles Stross’ Accelerando, in which reputation is a stock market commodity of sorts. The main character for the first part of the book exists almost entirely on reputation, rather than money, moving between cultures based on the strength of his ideas and the profits they bring to others, rather than on the strength of his own profits. Being able to operate without the need for money allows him freedom to act upon his vision, which builds more reputation, giving him more freedom.

    It’s entirely possibly that the net will lead to this sort of thing, if it can resist efforts to be monetized on a structural level. Makes you wonder what kind of system will arise out of that realm when open-source, free forums, and file-sharing can match or undermine any corporate or closed products. Eventually, even the mega-powerful will have to start playing the game the way the internet dictates, rather than the other way around, and then strange things will happen.

  4. I like the idea of a reputation economy, though for the idea to really spread, I think you need a snappier name for it, possibly using the word “gnosis”…….I too would also welcome more posts of this nature.

  5. zipzapzoom zipzapzoom

    Just finished reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom not too long ago, and a rep based economy seems like a natural evolution but I doubt it will really happen. Too many big boys with big bad old money to throw around yet.

    Vote to change the name of reputation economy to repcon.

  6. […] thoughts or a full blog post. They could be the basis of future blog posts. I stole this idea from Warren Ellis, in case you were […]

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