One of the main features of SourceCred is to credibly reward people’s contributions. A natural consequence of this is that those who contribute more will have more reputation. This is generally considered a natural and good thing.
Throughout history reputation has created power dynamics within communities. Those with reputation can trade, collaborate, and communicate more effectively than those without reputation. This trust minimizes due diligence, uncertainty, and paranoia that can be associated with interacting with others. This is generally considered a natural and good thing.
What’s not natural is being in a 24/7 globally connected world where anyone anywhere is just a click away from interacting with anyone else. When our monetary and governance systems are evolving at the speed of software, face to face reputations that take years to build will not do. Our village mindset will not scale. We need new systems to establish reputation while also allowing participants to remain pseudonymous.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Anyone anywhere can interact with us at any time. We don’t want to make ourselves vulnerable to attack.
- While our world is generally moving towards a more fair and open society, biases are still rampant. We don’t want people to be discriminated against for any reason. Can’t > won’t.
- The struggle is real. We live in a physical world with physical constraints and resource acquisition is still top of mind for most people. Money is our proxy for resources. When we embed money into social networks, open source projects, and communities it changes the dynamic. By allocating resources (cred) in a meritocratic way to pseudonymous actors it minimizes a whole class of political and personal debates that could arise.
SourceCred has the potential to allow participants to contribute, be recognized, and be rewarded in a pseudonymous and meritocratic way. This is possible because the SourceCred algorithm itself is transparent and publicly audit-able, but the participants are not. This design is critical to empower users and allow them to choose how and when to disclose information. AFAIK, this is the first time a protocol makes this possible at scale.
While SourceCred solves a lot of problems, it will probably create new ones too. This thread is to discuss how to design the SourceCred system so that members can participate anonymously, but also meritocratically earn reputation which they can use to influence the systems they are part of (aka governance). This is bold new design space, so please weigh in with your thoughts!