This is part two of a blog shared last week. I’m sharing examples for why we need something like an account of each person’s past behaviors, the good, the bad the ugly. We need this because their behavior speaks more accurately to what kind of person they are than what they say.
Now we’ve heard some push back against these accounts, but so far, no one has given concrete explanations for why they think they’re unnecessary. At least one person offered a constructive suggestion, which we adopted. That is that Reputation Account declarations are cleared after a period of years.
That’s a good idea.
As mentioned elsewhere, we’ll watch this aspect of Copiosis as implementation begins to ensure it functions as expected.
For your consideration
Last time we looked at a story from Michigan, a state in the US, where a police officer’s house up for sale featured a KKK application, hanging prominently in one of the rooms. That story included a lot of “he said, she said”. It also revealed how powerful groups can overwhelm public opinion with power, thus concealing information from the public. Information the public would be better off having.
In this post I’ll share another story. This one comes from the UK. There, a group of Muslims kind of took over poor performing schools and things changed…significantly. The change dramatically improved student performance. Some not so appealing things happened along the way too. How some characterized those things triggered overblown reactions from government leaders. That reaction still reverberates today some eight years later.
Like our previous story, this one comes from a podcast. But it’s far more complicated, with a very large number of characters involved – including the two reporters. It’s so complicated I had trouble following the story through its eight episodes.
It’s exactly this kind of complexity where Reputation Accounts could help. But to understand how they could, one must listen to both stories. I’ll summarize this one as best I can. Then detail why our accounts can help in such cases.
“Potentially unethical and incompetent conduct”
The story begins with an anonymous letter. The letter describes an alleged conspiracy underway in certain UK schools. Muslims are systematically taking these schools over and radicalizing British children, the letter claims.
Officials declare the letter a fake. But that doesn’t keep them from using the letter to launch a wide-reaching investigation. That investigation changes the schools for the worse, ruins many people’s careers, and scars some children attending these schools. The investigation also causes some government leaders to enact Orwellian policies which tamp down on Britain’s Muslim communities, to horrible effect. They also further fan British Islamaphobia.
Like I said, “The Trojan Horse Affair”, as the scandal is called today, still rankles England’s Muslim communities. Some describe the whole thing as a state-sanctioned racist attack on Islam and Muslims.
But here’s what’s most fascinating. No one bothered trying to find out who wrote the letter. The podcasters claims to know who wrote it. But surprising twists put that in dispute. Even though everyone knew the letter’s bogus nature, they still used it as the basis for changing national policy. That policy ruined teachers’ careers. It dramatically altered how these schools functioned. Yet everyone ignored who wrote the letter.
The New York Times, the podcast’s parent, described it this way:
“[Producers created] the most comprehensive account to date of a matter of huge national importance and debate, and pointed to potentially unethical and incompetent conduct on the part of state and local officials. Their investigation revealed that senior politicians knowingly used the bogus Trojan Horse letter to justify sweeping intervention in Muslim communities, that those who had possible knowledge of the letter’s author looked the other way, and that this letter was entered as evidence before a judge, despite officials doubting its credibility.”
Reputation accounts exist now
I’m presuming you took time to listen to this podcast and the last one. This latest one spans eight episodes. Hopefully you found it as entertaining as I did. Presuming you did listen or will, I offer the following.
Some people worry about aspects of Copiosis while not realizing what they worry about exists today but in more threatening ways. Some worry about our algorithm, for instance. They don’t want an algorithm knowing what they do, they say. But algorithms all over the world already know, right now, what they are doing. They know a lot more than that. Those algorithms know people so well, they successfully predict future behaviors.
As a result, political consultants and action committees, corporations and social media giants use this information to take advantage of people all over the world. So it’s strange, but not strange, that people complain about aspects of Copiosis, or outright fear them, while not realizing what they fear exists in a much more fearful form than what would exist in Copiosis.
Reputation Accounts are another example. One’s reputation already is being compiled, judged and entities act on that judgement all the time…today.
Credit scores are one example. Depending on your credit score, you either will pay more or less for the privilege of receiving credit. The cost paid for that credit – for a home or car loan, or a credit card – depends on your credit reputation. The worse the reputation, the more you pay.
A treasure trove
Your social media use is another Reputation Account. Did you know 70 percent of employers use social media in their hiring practices? That’s right, what you post on social media gets reviewed when you apply for a job. It also could put your current job at risk as almost half of employers use social media to monitor existing employees.
Your resume is also a reputation account, complete with declarations – references you select whom your employer will call. Such people will vouch for your reputation as a skilled employee and someone worth hiring.
Your online dating profile is a kind of reputation account too, which prospective dates use to decide if you’re date-worthy.
The Federal Bureau of Instigation (FBI) once described social media as a treasure trove of information on people. The law enforcement agency routinely uses social media as an investigative tool. They credit Facebook and other social media apps for information leading to criminal arrests.
There are currently hundreds of sites on the internet building reputations on most people. Most of this happens with hardly anyone knowing or caring it happens. Companies pay millions of dollars for your online reputation because they can use it to sell you stuff.
So people today aggregate, judge then publish information about you. You do it yourself when job seeking, dating online or posting on social media. Others then judge whether it’s worth it to them to interact with you based on these data. In other words, you already have a reputation account. Many actually. And you don’t own any of it.
Copiosis Accounts: they’re different
What differentiates Copiosis’ accounts from the kind that exist today is, you own them. You prevent stuff you don’t want getting in there by being decent. No one is 100 percent decent though. Very few would have 100 percent clean accounts. But that’s helpful.
That’s because today people are “cancelled” for stupid decisions, decisions that others make all the time and get away with. Everyone has something they’ve done that’s stupid. A Muslim teacher embroiled in The Trojan Horse Affair, for example, said some stupid things about LGBTQ people. Discovered through the investigation and interviewed in the podcast, the teacher, Razwan Faraz, publicly apologized for his comments and described what he did to educate himself.
And this response is exactly what we expect will happen with Reputation Accounts. For one, more people making gaffs, or actually believing stupid things about others, will get outed, much like Faraz. Then those people get a chance to educate themselves. Doing so, they could receive NBR.
How is that negative? How is that scary?
People don’t know themselves
But what’s really powerful about such accounts is this: they help people know who they are, help others know who everyone else is and with that information community members can make informed choices about working together. Remember, that’s what’s happening when you don’t get a job offer. Someone looked at your employment reputation, or other criteria and passed.
I think it’s important people know who others are. Relying on people to tell everything about themselves is foolhardy. Usually because most people don’t know themselves very well. Some say as few as 10 percent of the population are truly self-aware, meanwhile 95 percent consider themselves self-aware. So you shouldn’t believe what people say about themselves. But you can trust how they act.
Reputation Accounts are a collection of acts, self-declared and declared about you by others. It’s a far more reliable way of judging another than relying on someone’s word.
As these two stories – The Trojan Horse Affair and last week’s story – show, people do things that describe what kind of person they are better than what they say. Armed with a record of behaviors, an individual can choose how or whether to interact with another. Another individual may choose differently. That’s the value of the accounts.
With reliable, verified information, each person, while enjoying their freedom, can choose freely, without having that freedom overridden by someone lacking self knowledge, or worse, willfully concealing who they are in order to get over on another.
Reputation Accounts don’t function in isolation. They work with all other components of the Copiosis framework. Together, these components can work well in creating strong, harmonious communities. Ultimately though that outcome depends on people. And in my opinion, the better people know each other, and themselves, the better chance they have at building such communities.