SourceCred Timing Questions

Question on Cred/Grain dynamics:

  • If you write a post, then realized you forgot to add links or references, and make an edit to add those in, will the Cred graph pick that up, and if so, will it be measured in the same way that it would if it was in the original post?
  • Also, what if the edit was made long after the original post? How would that affect things? Is cred measured at the time of engagement (when people read, like, and comment), or does cred flow to the comment in a thread based on “engagement” and whatever you put in that comment box (links and stuff) will get some of that cred too? In the later case, you could just add a link to your most recent post in all your old posts to get extra cred so that seems less than ideal.
  • When linking to past comments Discourse includes ?u=your-username at the end of the link. Does that affect Cred scores for those links at all?

moderation note: I forked this out of Cred/Grain dynamics into its own thread.

Yes. This is specifically why every Initiative is a wiki- so that others can add in links that the author missed. Some future-feature ideas:

  • Build a Discourse-wiki integration so that people who edit the wiki get some cred in the initiative
  • Track which links came from which edits, so people who add a link actually get a share of the cred that flows through that link

Of course, as the community scales, this system would become too easy to abuse. But while we are in trust level 1 I think it will work well. In the future, we’ll likely build a dedicated UI for updating initiatives, adding/changing links, etc, which has a clever permission/review system built in.

The use of temporal information in SourceCred is both complicated and nascent. I could write a whole thread detailing how timing info in SourceCred works, as well as what the issues are with our current approach. I’ll try to answer your specific questions here, though, with an example.

In week 1, you have post P1. P1 gets (arbitrarily) 10 cred in week 1.

Week P1’s Cred P2’s Cred
1 10 0

In week 2, you have post P2, which gets (arbitrarily) 10 cred in week 2. P1 gets 0 cred in week 2. (Actually, due to the exponential decays built into time-based cred, it’s more likely to get 5 cred, but I’m ignoring that for simplicity of example.)

Week P1’s Cred P2’s Cred
1 10 0
2 0 10

In week 3, I like P2. This flows more cred to P2 in week 3.

Week P1’s Cred P2’s Cred
1 10 0
2 0 10
3 0 5

Now let’s suppose you go and retroactively edit P2 so that it included a reference to P1. Now when we next compute the cred, it will look more like this:

Week P1’s Cred P2’s Cred
1 10 0
2 5 10
3 2 5

So, in this example, your retroactive edit caused a lot more cred to flow to P1. It is indeed the case that right now you could attack SourceCred by going and finding your high-cred posts from the past, and adding references or mentions pointing towards your other work.

I suspect that we can come up with a clever way to mitigate this attack at the cred computation level, once we start using the edit timestamps from Discourse. However, if not, it should be easy to write tools that detect when this attack is happening, and we can then censure or penalize the attacker.

No; at the moment this information is discarded by the reference parser.

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Thanks for explaining that! :slight_smile:

So essentially, right now the CredSperiment incentivizes creating trails through content by linking as much relevant content as possible. This has the effect of making relevant content accessible at all times and flowing cred to supporting work that made current posts possible.

This is imperfect, however, because it incentivizes people to add links to their stuff, but not other people’s (same goes for liking actually). Because we’re at Trust Level 1 this is ok, but as we transition to a more open and potentially adversarial environment this needs to be addressed.

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Yeah. I hope that the norm will be that people link out to others’ posts, even if it isn’t formally incentivized, I think that it will become a communal norm. It’s pretty easy to tell if someone only links their own stuff (both implicitly and via explicit discovery) and I think people like to give credit to each other.

(as a case study: academia seems pretty good about creating citations, even though doing so is not formally incentivized, afaik)

The curators can also help with cases where contributions are going un-recognized, since curators are always incentivized to create new links.

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Good point! I would actually say that academic are incentivized to cite prior work because it supports and validates their current work. In the same way, posts that are clearly built on the logic and consensus of the community (proven via links) would have more weight than those that were just made up.


Really excited about the role of curators to surface and support important stuff that is too often overlooked in society :slight_smile:

Wiki Editing

Wiki editing seems like a valuable contribution, but also something that could easily be gamed. If someone creates a Wiki, and then someone else comes along and edits that wiki (adding correct punctuation and/or fixing spelling and grammatical mistakes) will they get cred for that, or only if they add a link to something?

@burrrata we should totally give some thought into how cred for wiki editing should work. We can think about having heuristics like whether an edit added links, how many lines were added/changed/removed, etc. We may also want to make “escape hatches” for human review, e.g. for those cases when someone just re-orders the whole wiki and it looks to the heuristics like they re-wrote it entirely.

Suggest forking this out into a separate thread. I wonder if you can fork your own post or if you need to be staff to do it? I do it by clicking the wrench on the right side of the screen, then I can select post(s), and then move them to a new thread.

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My wrench only has the “Make Wiki” option.