Debrief: Reputation Economies in Cyberspace

Reputation Economies in CyberspaceThe Yale Information Society Project held the Reputation Economies in Cyberspace symposium this weekend at Yale Law School. The speakers’ position papers are available here, and various participants’ notes have been posted on the conference wiki. The conference has also been blogged by Rebecca Tushnet (1, 2, 3, 4), Eric Goldman, Urs Gasser, Frank Pasquale (1, 2), James Grimmelmann, Aldon Hynes, Jenny Ambrozek, and others. (More at

As one of the organizers, I spent much of the day either running around, or, when sitting in the room, thinking about what I needed to be running around for next, so I wasn’t able to take extensive notes or blog about it myself.

I did, however, have the great pleasure of chairing an amazing panel on Privacy and Reputational Protection, featuring Alessandro Acquisti, Danielle Citron, William McGeveran, Dan Solove, and Jonathan Zittrain. Rebecca has an excellent summary here. My key takeaway points from the discussion were:

  • How do we manage the paradox between users’ stated privacy preferences and their actual actions?
  • How do we (or should we) make online spaces safe from malicious group attacks (i.e., the dog poop girl and Kathy Sierra cases). How would we reconcile this with the desire to support free expression online?
  • Should technological or regulatory steps be taken to make it difficult to find certain information, especially old reputational data (i.e., should databases learn to “forget” that a person made a mistake some years ago that has little bearing on her current reputation)?
  • What duties do information aggregators or intermediaries have in providing a feedback loop to allow subjects to correct, annotate, or provide context to items which impact one’s reputation (i.e., the ability for subjects of news articles to provide comments at Google News)?
  • Finally, what is the magical mix of law, regulation, and technological solutions to all these concerns?

Thanks to everyone for helping make this conference a great success.

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