So Whufie is a Skype Plugin?

Someone has finally implemented a working Whuffie system! I always figured it was just a matter of time. But I’m not really all that mpressed with – their Whufie engine it’s just a Skype plugin. Sorry, but an extension to a proprietary IM client is just not all that awesome.

Here is how I imagine good implementation of Whufie:

  1. Start with a very simple, open protocol that would support at least 2 operations:
    1. query whuffie info for a person
    2. send whuffie to a person
  2. establish a uniform way to identify whufie users – I propose using some sort of URI for this purpose, because you want to be ready for semantic web. To make things simple, for now your primary whuffie ID could be the URL of your personal website or blog.
  3. establish a simple whuffie record schema. I propose the following:
    1. Transaction ID (Primary Key)
    2. Transaction Date
    3. Recepient’s URI
    4. Sender’s URI
    5. Whufie amount for this transaction
    6. Transaction description

    Thus our Whuffie database would hold series of whuffie transactions specifying who gave how many points to whom, when and for what reason.

  4. implement some sort of robust registration/authentication system for sending whuffie to prevent people from artificially inflating their score
  5. Implement restrictions on amount of Whuffie you can give to prevent abuse. I propose setting a daily limit (for example allow to 10 points of positive or negative Whuffie) per person. So you can give Whuffie to unlimited number of people but you will only be able to change their total score by 10 points per day.
  6. implement a server that would listen for connections on some specific port and send/receive whuffie data
  7. establish some sort of data distribution protocol. I suggest creating a hierarchical DNS like architecture with root servers, and recursive resolvers and etc. Obviously we can’t just copy the DNS scheme because we would be dealing with much different, and much more dynamic data – but the core architectural ideas could remain the same.

Now you have an open protocol and a robust distributed network. Any application can now act as a client, and you can not only find out someone’s total Whuffie score, but also get a detailed breakdown of how they earned their fame or infamy.

I think a distributed network like the one outlined above would be much closer to what Cory Doctorow envisioned in his novel… But that’s just me.

Update Fri, October 06 2006, 12:23 AM

Apparently, some of the stuff I mentioned is part of the design of the bitchun plugin. You can track the development progress on Joseph Petviashvili’s Live Journal I’m still not sure if they are planning to extend this beyond a skype centered buddy network kindoff thing. But there is definitely some growth potential there.

[tags]whuffie, bitchun,, skype, Cory Doctorow, down and out in the magic kindgom[/tags]

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