No Longer an Advisor -- my Opinion on the Web Of TrustAug 17, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line To all future Top Reviewers and Editors at Epinions: Good luck.
At the time of this writing, my scorecard: I trust 294 members, and am trusted by 381. I will be adding many more to my trust list this month.
Well, first, to jkkelley: thank you for introducing a new word into the Epinions vocabulary. I am a newly minted Peon and proud of it.
Second, I would like to thank Epinions for appointing me as a Gourmet Category Advisor on April 30, 2001. I have enjoyed my 100+ day run as a Gourmet Category Advisor, and have contributed over 170 reviews since accepting my appointment. Every review was for an item that I personally owned or consumed.
This week, I received notice that I was not being considered for a role as a Top Reviewer or an Editor in the Gourmet category.
This news does not upset me -- even though I am fairly sure that I have been the most active writer in the Gourmet category, and one of the most active raters and editors as well -- and I am sure that I will continue writing at Epinions and enjoying the reviews of several of my online friends and fellow Epinions members.
I can only concede that the reason for my non-selection must have something to do with my large web of trust.
You see -- at Epinions -- Advisors / Top Reviewers / Editors are encouraged to maintain a small web of trust. This is why you will see some writers who have trust ratios smaller than 1:100 (they trust one person for every 100 that trusts them in return).
That, my friends, is BOGUS.
So: I will state my "New School" Web of Trust position here and now:
I would rather trust many members -- in reciprocation for their trust and loyalty -- than be an Advisor. I would much rather have my reviews read and rated, than to have them ignored. Success, for me, is measured in hits and page views, not titles that are handed out willy-nilly based upon some secret formulas.
I have been a member of Epinions for almost 14 months now. There are several writers here that I faithfully check on, and I typically spend 3-to-4 hours a day -- sometimes more -- reading reviews on topics that interest me. As my reading list gets larger and larger, and as I add more trusted parties to my list, I eventually have to remove some members from my WOT who don't offer reciprocation. I mean nothing personal by my decision -- it is a business decision that I had to make to maintain my position as an Advisor... BUT I DID NOT ACT to pare down my trust list fast enough. And now I am no longer an Advisor. So, then, I am free to run loose.
The notion of one being a "Trust Slut" is OLD SCHOOL. This is a notion that is propounded by established writers who want to exercise some control at the site by perpetuating some old Epinions propaganda that just does not fit in today's model for the site. I have been here for almost 14 months. I have read several thousand reviews by many hundreds of members. Many, many reviewers and reviews are good and trustworthy, and I bookmark these authors so that I can read more of their epinions. I, indeed, trust their opinion and I will, in the future, be a little more liberal in reciprocating trust.
I used to run my little corner in the Epinions world like a small business since I had to budget the amount of time I spend reading and rating and I had to concentrate my efforts where the rewards are the greatest.
I know not everyone is going to return my trust, but since Epinions and its membership seems to frown on people with large WOT's, I have to do something to keep some kind of balance. So I used to remove all members who stopped writing/rating for 75 or more days, and I removed members who did not reciprocate my trust after a 2-4 week trial period. It was strategy that worked for me, and it's one that I found necessary to follow because my experience has been that I usually had to make the first effort to trust others before receiving trust in return. I never ask others to "trust me and I will trust you," but I (almost) always reciprocate when others trust me. That's just how I work. Personally, if I were not penalized for how many members that I would like to include in my WOT, I'd probably have a list close to 1,500 or more members. Now that I have been penalized, I am going to start adding members as I see fit.
Trusted Members are Friends
Truth be told, I faithfully follow my trusted members and read and rate all of their incoming reviews. In many cases, I have read all the reviews of trusted members -- people like andaryl, bruguru, byran_carey, gerper, ermitano, among many others -- and I cannot help but trust them because their material is very good.
I view the WOT as a kind of a community builder... and not a community divider. I look at some of the most popular writers, for example, who have a 100-to-1 (or even higher -- like 300-to-1) ratio of people who trust them vs. the number that they trust in return... and I rebel against that notion as being unfair and selfish. This is not an attack on those people. This is an attack on the system in general.
In the future, not being confined by any duties as a "Top Reviewer" or an "Editor," I will probably add hundreds of more individuals to my trust list. I probably will continue to write at least one review per day, but my goals are now refined. I no longer want to be a "Top Reviewer" of anything. I want to be one of Epinions' most trusted members. And to that end, I shall commence my onslaught. Ummm, I mean, future endeavors.
To all future Top Reviewers and Editors in the Gourmet Category and elsewhere: I wish you Good Luck.
Thanks, Epinions, for the forum and for the opportunity.
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