Friday, 23 December 2011

Backrub, peer review and impact factor, popular culture - a suggestion for a kudos engine

How do we give kudos on the internet? We can Like. We can put a link to something on our blog or website. We can send an email about to a friend (how old-school!). But this is not enough for me.

It matters to me not just how many Likes something has, but also who did the Liking. This concept is similar to Google's backrub algorithm - it matters the importance of the website that backlinks to the website in question. It's also similar to peer review and impact factors, where it matters who has reviewed, and where something is published.

I can solve this to some extent by following a set of people who have good taste, and tend to do good Liking. But this is a little contrived; not sufficiently organic.

So I propose a kudos engine. This would be an online social network. Any user of the social network would be able to create a unique kind of kudos, and at creation send this to unique online individuals (in the network already, identifiable by email address or another social network identifier) (all would need to be dispersed upon creation - no holding any back). The recipients could then "spend" (i.e. send on) that kudos (although the record of their original receipt would be kept). And so on. And so on.

All sending of kudos would be to an individual in respect of something. The "something" could just be a message from the sender or could point to a particular output of the recipient (an article, a song, a work of art, a project, a product, etc). A keyword cloud for that unique kind of kudos is created around the words associated with the "in respect of"s. So if the kudos was in respect of a song, the keyword cloud would include the name of the song, the name of the band, the genre of the music, etc. These keywords allow other users to find kudos-types of interest to them, which leads them to people, articles, music, art, projects, etc of interest.

The intial creator could set the total number of kudos units of that type at the start (e.g. 100), and could choose to create an inflationary factor (for each recipient, for every x kudos you receive, an additional y is also recieved). This is similar in concept to bitcoin's mining.

It is likely that some kudos-types would sink, and some would swim. If you receive some of a kudos-type that is circulating widely and circulating to people you respect, you know you're doing well!