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Proposal: Creating a Scalable Web of Trust

posted 18 Jun 2013, 04:55 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 18 Jun 2013, 04:55 ]
Problem: To date, there has yet to be developed highly scalable, open solution, on the web, such that users can grow their own reputation, and grow trust with other people, groups, and societies.  

Often your reputation is locked in silos and walled gardens.  If we were able to create an open web of trust, that brings your online reputation footprint together, it would be possible for people to interact, trade and communicate with each other with much less uncertainty.

Using Linked Data it is now possible to start stitching the various of pockets of trust together so that they can be both machine and human readable, so that we can have have distributed trust and reputation claims across the web, under our own control.  

It would be good to start to incrementally stitch these trust zones together using a common vocabulary and language.  We should begin by bootstrapping existing systems that can be modelled and will accept patches.

Two effective places to start are 1) bitcoin otc and 2) the GPG web of trust.  The aim would be to have a common extensible trust vocabulary by year end that can subsume both these systems, and be extended to many others.

About bitcoin otc.  ( http://bitcoin-otc.com/ ) This is a sophisticated system where buyers and sellers come together and if they transact successfully they can leave each other a message and improve their rating.  I've selected this one because A) it's a common use case B) having spoken to the maintainer, he is willing to let us supply patches to add terms to the vocabulary

About GPG.  Most here will be familiar with the GPG web of trust, it is a PKI system that enables users to trust each other, encrypt and sign messages, log in to servers, sign code and a number of other security based functions.  I've selected GPG because there's already an existing schema ( http://xmlns.com/wot/0.1/ )

What needs to be done?  
- Bring Bitcoin OTC onto the web of trust
  - An ontology should be incrementally developed to model each page of bitcoin OTC
  - The ontology should be published in a long lasting place (e.g. w3org.id)
  - Patches should be submitted to the open source to create RDFa markup

- Bring GPG onto the web of trust
  - Go over the GPG ontology to see if anything needs to be changed
  - Update the wot/foaf vocabs with findings above
  - Liaise with GPG mailing list to see that we have the right terms
  - Create a web based proof of concept that can show GPG trust lines

Summary.  By combining multiple trust sources across the web, we can start to create a scalable reputation footprint for users online, that allows them to break out of any one silo.  By starting off with two target environments, we can extend this to many more over time, allowing users to become fully in control of their online reputation.  

We just need some people to help create and maintain the dictionary of terms (schema) and to start putting rel and property tags into the relevant web pages.  If anyone is interested in helping to flesh this out idea, feel free to join the conversation!   public-rww <public-rww@w3.org>,
 Web Payments <public-webpayments@w3.org>

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