A few words more on whuffie

“A fluid, complex system of cultural currency and reputation. Created by the Bitchun Society in “Down and Out in the Magic Kingom” by Cory Doctorow” (urban dictionary)

“You earn whuffie as people credit you out of respect, gratitude, pity, lust, love, or any other motive for popularity.”(socialtext)“Koman: And there’s left-handed Whuffie and right-handed Whuffie.

Doctorow: That’s right, well, it’s idiosyncratic. Unlike things like Google PageRank, it’s not a beauty contest; it doesn’t tell you what the average person thinks is right, or beautiful, or worthy of esteem, it tells you what people like you–people who bought this book also bought clean underwear–think about this resource. And because it’s not domain-specific, because it spans all these domains, it’s got this incredibly rich dataset, so it’s like people who are like you on lots of different axes telling you what to think.

Now, everyone sort of runs their lives as a consequence of this because those few resources that are scarce–like esteem itself, attention, locations–are themselves regulated or apportioned according to Whuffie. The way that happens is that someone asserts that they are in a position to control the distribution of that resource. A group of people–an ad hoc–comes along and says this is our restaurant. And if people behave as if it’s their restaurant, if people sit at the tables when they’re told to sit, if they order food when they’re told to order, if they eat the food when it comes on a plate, then in fact, those people are running the restaurant. But they’re only running the restaurant for as long as someone else doesn’t come in and successfully assert that they are now running the restaurant. And so there’s this built-in incentive to always behave in a way that always makes everyone feel good.” (oreillynet)


“The theory goes thus: if you write a symphony or contribute to society, people give you Whuffie. Your personal Whuffie rating is constantly updated online so everyone can view it. The more you have, the higher the esteem in which you’re held. It is like the way Google ranks web pages according to how many people link to them: the more people who like your page (or symphony), the higher you get rated. Or, if you’ve contributed a lot of unpaid programming to an open source project such as Linux, then appreciative users will buy you drinks wherever you go.

The higher your Whuffie, the more people will listen to you. Plus, it helps allocate access to the scarce resources – the historically preserved attractions at Walt Disney World, for instance.” (guardian)

“The Liberty Square ad-hocs were the staunchest conservatives in the Magic Kingdom, preserving the wheezing technology in the face of a Park that changed almost daily. The newcomer/old-timers were on-side with the rest of the Park, had their support, and looked like they might make a successful go of it.” (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom)



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