A matter of trust

It is the first currency. It is the binding force that holds us together. It is the most precious thing, that which we never want to lose. Because once lost, it might be lost for good.

It is that which we attempt to regulate, to monitor, to keep tabs on. Because the more complicated our societies grow, the more difficult it is to know who is worthy of it. 

In small, close-knit communities, everyone knows everyones business. It is easy to know who will return your lawnmower without a scratch and with a full tank. You have a reasonable idea of peoples reliability and if you don’t, someone you trust will most likely be able to bring you up to speed. In a small community there are is a constant exchange of favours , of gifts, that creates bonds and nurtures trust. 

Not that small, close-knit communities do not have their fair share of abuses of trust, and serious ones at that, but this only goes to show the importance of trust and the importance of knowing who is worthy of holding said trust.

As we have moved from the local village into the global one, seeing more new faces in a day than our ancestors would see in a lifetime, personal trust has taken a back seat to rules and regulations, to contacts and consequences. But must it really be so?

Trust is earned when actions meet words. “

Chris Butler

Though still in embryo, a trust system for our global village is evolving. The most widespread prototype is most likely the rating system used by AirBnb that allows hosts and guests to rate each other. For the hosts, a high ranking means more exposure and thus more guests, and for the guests, treating the space with respect and being generally helpful and easy going means one is more likely to earn a good reputation also, which can be useful to access future accommodation. It is not impossible to imagine a market place evolving in this ecosystem, where hosts will give highly rated or trusted guests a discount as they are very unlikely to cause the host any trouble or unexpected costs. Plus, it is as nice to write a heartfelt review about someone as it is to read one about oneself. Expressing appreciation is one of those values that is intimately linked to trust. Also, to refer back to another discussion, it is interesting to observe how important being polite is in this circumstance when it is of no importance at all when anonymously interacting with a stranger on the internet. Clearly there is a lesson to be had, and most likely it has something to do with skin in the game…

Now imagine, if you will, a world with many such trust ranking systems. And imagine being able to pick the systems you trust the most, perhaps rank them differently depending in which one you deem to be of most value depending on your current case, and being able to know how reliable a stranger  might be. Perhaps knowing how valued they are by the people close to them will bring you closer to them also. In fact, imagine a world where your actions actually led to your trust rating, for lack of a better word, actually benefitted you in other areas. And not in a creepy, popularity contest way like that episode on Dark Mirror, but in an open, supporting way that opened doors. Imagine living in a world where a persons word was their bond, and that bond could be trusted to hold because it had never been broken. This, too, is a space we hope to contribute to within the scope of Crowdpol.

Using the various tools on the platform, you will be able to evaluate and be evaluated on a number of metrics. How appreciated is the content you provide by others? Are your arguments well-crafted, logical and contain factual references? Is your content generally rated as signal rather than noise? When you take part in a project, how do others experience your contribution and would they be happy to volunteer with you again? If you are a project manager, how does your team evaluate your performance? Do your projects meet the target you set for them? Are others prepared to stake their reputations behind yours? 

These and many more criteria, continuously verified by your network of peers, can give us a fairly good idea of someones reliability even if we have never met them. Having a high trust rating due to a deep and longstanding commitment to altruistic actions will come with unique perks of its own. As users set criteria for who get to contact them directly, highly sought after individuals will most likely not allow messages from members who have not yet earned their stripes. But a high trust rating indicates that you are more likely to provide signal than noise and thus someone worth being in communication with.

Perhaps one day this trust rating will step outside of our network and be used more widely to attest to our reliability. Perhaps it will be from these exceptional examples, those who are dedicated not only in word but also in deed to being of service to others and to the planet that ww will elect our future leaders. Perhaps you are one of them.
Well. Only one way to find out!

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