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The Contingency Market

A general purpose trading system enabling financial exchanges contingent upon public events, e.g. the collective purchase of a music recording contingent upon the event of its public release.

It is to form the engine behind the Digital Art Auction and QuidMusic sites.

The Contingency Market is exposed as a web service, currently in development here: www.contingencymarket.com

A demonstration site, 1p2U, that uses the contingency market is also currently in development.

Authentication cont'd. 2 · Thursday May 01, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

I have now created an administrative queue for the Contingency Market to process new registrations (among other things). Thus, new registrants will be e-mailed a URL key which can be used to confirm their e-mail address.

The ironic thing is that this sort of thing should be supportable by the Contingency Market itself (by defining a system event of new registrant, and the ability for contingencies to do more than transact funds, e.g. process custom code), however, I considered I’d do an ad hoc queue first and make the market more sophisticated another day.

So, if you were to register as a new user on 1p2u.com you’d now get an e-mail asking you to confirm your e-mail address (well, when I let the queue run from time to time).

The Market for Digital Art · Monday April 28, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

A digital artist creates works of digital art. They do not create copies.

People have got a heck of a lot of copyright deprogramming to go through if they persist in thinking of the creative process as an artist creating ‘the first copy’ and then ‘making and selling copies’.

The ‘copy’ as a first class concept in our digital domain is disintegrating before our eyes and yet people stubbornly persist in thinking of digital art in terms of copies.

We are rapidly moving toward a digital production process that produces digital art in only three phases:

  1. Non-existent
  2. Created (private/unpublished)
  3. Published

There is no ‘copy’. There are no ‘copies’ to exchange or purchase. There is no market for ‘copies’.

Except as a fundamental operation to computer scientists, even the term ‘copy’ will soon lose its original meaning and deteriorate into an archaic term for ‘private sharing’.

For example:
“Do you have a copy of the artwork?” will become an old fogey’s way of saying “Are you privy to the artwork?”,
and “Then would you please give me a copy?” will become an old fogey’s way of saying “Then would you please make me privy?”.

For published art the word ‘copy’ disappears even from old fogeys’ vocabularies, e.g. we’ll just hear them saying “What was the name of that piece? Who’s the artist?”. However, I suspect even those queries will be ever more rarely spoken given pervasive access to metadata for all media, e.g. “Who sang the second song I heard in the coffee bar yesterday morning?” will be a thought easily answered on one’s PDA (and the singer consequently micropatronised).

So, if you want to understand the future market for digital art then you have to stop trying to understand it in terms of a market for copies. There will be no market for copies. The market for copies has ended.

The future market for digital art will involve exchanges between the artist and those who value their art (nothing to do with copies). Exchanges will occur between the three key phases I outlined above, i.e. payment to create art where it did not exist before, payment to become privy to art to which one is as yet not privy, and payment to publish private/unpublished art.

There is no copy.

This article is based on my comments at Against Monopoly Thanks to ‘Kid’ for prompting them.

Solomon said 4349 days ago :

Great article, which hits the nail right on the head! I have heard so much on this subject lately, and I was wondering when someone was going to seriously address it.

The other serious subjects need addressing are the galleries and institutions, which will be there to offer permanent credibility to creations of this emerging digital media, specifically for the public and private marketplaces.

Crosbie Fitch said 4349 days ago :

Thanks Solomon. One of the very few galleries I’m aware of that exhibits published digital art without recognising any significance to copies thereof is Jamendo (music recordings). I’d be interested to know of any similar galleries for other forms of digital art such as images.

Phil Bradley said 4348 days ago :

If ‘there is no copy’, could I please ‘make others privy’ to this great post by reblogging it?

Crosbie Fitch said 4347 days ago :

Of course Phil. :)

I’d be very grateful.

NB Although you’re probably already appreciative of this, while I encourage you or anyone to reblog all my published works without needing to seek approval, you are reminded to be accurate in any attribution (even if implicit by omission).

Authentication contd. · Thursday February 28, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

The CM now raises an event upon a new user registration.
This event will need to trigger the sending of an e-mail for the registered user’s e-mail to be verified via URL.
This requires implementing a system of queued transactions pending URL execution.

Penny per Post · Thursday January 17, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

An overview of a new site that provides bloggers with a widget that lets their readers sponsor them.

A blogger has some readers, the most enthusiastic ones probably being interested in encouraging the blogger to continue writing such good articles. The blogger, in consideration of this likelihood visits the new site to register and obtain a widget that they can put on their blog site.

Once this widget is embedded, the site will keep track of all the new articles published – it is also now assured that it has authentic details of the blogger to whom any credit or monies should be given.

From now on, any of the blogger’s readers will see the widget. This enables the observant and interested reader to click the widget for details of how they can sponsor the blogger to the tune of 1p per post.

For all the readers that decide to become sponsors, their accounts have 1p debited each time a new article is published – as indicated by the blogger’s RSS feed. The blogger in turn has all these pennies credited to their account. The blogger can either withdraw them or use them to sponsor other bloggers, e.g. those bloggers from whom they draw most inspiration.

Bearing in mind that there’s not much point sponsoring a blogger unless the pennies pledged actually turn up, both the sponsor and blogger will receive a weekly e-mail detailing the state of their account with any monies due. This will have a link to enable the payment or withdrawal of funds.

Tel said 4461 days ago :

It’s an interesting concept you have working here, I think it needs a bit more explanation at the fundamental level.

For example, how do I check the level of my own funds? I presume there must be a centralised database of all transactions somewhere (i.e. a bank).

Similarly, how do I check whether someone I might consider dealing with has the ability to pay me?

Crosbie Fitch said 4461 days ago :

The Contingency Market is the database that keeps track of all the events, contingencies, offers, deals, and who owes who what, etc. The penny-per-post site simply turns RSS news into events, and sponsorship into deals on contingencies dependent upon those events.

It is then via a Digital Productions PayPal account that dues can be settled, e.g. 50 readers’ pennies ending up as 50p credited to the blogger, but only 37p available to withdraw until 13 other readers get round to paying their dues.

Some readers will have accounts that say they owe a total of 6p given six bloggers they’ve sponsored have sinced published an article. They may by that time be sponsoring 38 bloggers, so they could pay 44p if they wanted to pay their dues and cover up to 38 more articles. They could wait until they owed a couple of quid. It’s up to the reader.

A blogger will be fully informed as to how much sponsorship they have been pledged, and how much has actually been paid (available to withdraw). They can also find out how much they are currently being sponsored, and what proportion of that sponsorship is liquid (covered by the sponsors concerned).

No-one needs to pay to participate, but then the whole concept is only expected to appeal to those who do want to pay. Tyre kickers will be welcomed. Moreover, no-one will be chased for defaulting on their pledges. Indeed, bloggers and readers can pull out at any time, being able to withdraw all pledges received, and be refunded any unspent pledges.

Scott Carpenter said 4461 days ago :

That sounds better. I thought there would be individual emails for each reader and it seemed like a lot of overhead for such small payments that way.

(I commented on this post yesterday and initially saw the comment, but then it went away.)

SirStark said 4460 days ago :

Sounds like an interesting way to deal with financing the web publishing. Where can I find a website using this widget?

Crosbie Fitch said 4460 days ago :

Apologies, Scott, if comments disappear. Perhaps the captcha failed? I guess a captcha failure isn’t as obvious as it should be.

Crosbie Fitch said 4460 days ago :

@SirStark: Glad you think it sounds interesting. I’ve only been talking about the one I’m about to develop.

As far as where you might find a website using such a widget already, there’s a sort of widget for people who will blog for advertisers/marketers here payperpost.com. Also check out www.blogitive.com for something similar.

I’m not yet aware of any website where you can find a penny-per-post widget that lets readers sponsor the blogger, but do let me know if you find one.

SirStark said 4459 days ago :

Thanks for the links. If I find any websites using this kind of penny-per-post widget I’ll post the links here.
Btw, the captchas here are rather difficult to read. Especially I’ve got problems distinguishing between B and 8.

Crosbie Fitch said 4459 days ago :

And I’ll see if there’s a better captcha – I need glasses myself.

Testing the Contingency Market · Wednesday January 16, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

I think it’s time I embarked upon a worked example with which to test the Contingency Market.

As you may already be aware, the Contingency Market is a web service that enables the specification and observation of events, and the making of bargains that depend upon the outcome of those events (contingencies). It’s designed to facilitate very large numbers of contemporaneous bargains concerning the same events and parties to them, e.g. bargains between a musician and their audience concerning the release of a particular work (qv QuidMusic).

For my first worked example I will start off with a similar idea. This will be a sponsorship facility to enable a blogger’s readers to pledge the payment of a penny for each new article subsequently published. Essentially, each time a new post appears in the blogger’s RSS feed, the penny pledged by each reader is credited to the blogger. So, it’s not a charitable donation, but a commercial bargain, i.e. “If you publish a new article, I’ll pay you a penny. If you don’t, I’ll pay you nothing. My sponsorship will continue for as long as you keep publishing great work”.

Most importantly, the Contingency Market enables participants to fund their bargains. PayPal can be used to do this, although it does charge a significant commission for doing so, i.e. 3.4% +20p. This means that in order to deposit £10 one must pay PayPal 56p (3.4% of £10.56 is 36p which +20p=56p leaving £10). In terms of pennies this means that a penny to a blogger costs the reader 1.056p. Which at just over five hundredths of a penny is paltry compared to the 21p it would cost if they wanted to pay a penny to the blogger via PayPal directly.

I should add that the Contingency Market has no commission or membership fees of its own. It is to be funded by the very same revenue mechanism it enables, e.g. sponsorship – if a user wants a specific feature sooner rather than later, they join in with everyone else in pledging something for its implementation.

The source code to the worked example will be published throughout its development (under the GPLv3). Everyone is encouraged to follow along, contribute, produce parallel sites, etc.

This is to be a work of free culture.

Next Steps

  • Register a domain to host the example site.
  • Write an overview of how it’s all expected to work.
  • Produce a rough project plan.
  • Start work and blog on progress.

Your Audience Is Your Patron · Monday September 24, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

A long, long time ago, even before the Caxtons of this world, there was another business model.

It was called patronage.

It doesn’t hold much favour today because people find it difficult to disassociate from plutocracy.

But as easily as the Internet enables diffusion of intellectual work, so it enables the diffusion of the wealthy patron – aka ‘the audience’.

It was difficult 300 years ago to collect an advance from a large readership, but then it was difficult to distribute copies without permission, so the idea of selling copies (under monopoly) was born (whether discretely or by subscription).

Today, you cannot sell copies. The illusion that you can is simply the business model’s momentum – the good will of its passengers pushing it along with the tank having long run dry.

Has anyone wondered if you can now collect an advance from a large readership?

Don’t forget the volte face though. It’s not the author’s publisher charging the customer for production, but the customers commissioning the author to produce a publication.

Of course, a nimble publisher could offer their services once again as intermediary, especially for audiences who don’t particularly care about the specific authors, e.g. newspapers.

In the case of a newspaper things would appear very similar to the subscription model. After all, the demand and supply sides are still the same. However, it’s not a newspaper that is published to sell (under monopoly) to readers, but readers who commission a newspaper to be published (without monopoly).

vaspers aka steven e. streight said 4529 days ago :

A crowdsourced art commission? A populist-dictated music recording?

Why have an aloof elite, controlled by mammonists, create what we are capable of creating ourselves?

Take the phenomenon Post Secret: 100% user generated content, then sold to the public who created it.

I think it’s all becoming We Media, as in We Average People are now The Media, we entertain ourselves with ourselves, correction: with our digital surrogates.

We make videos, podcasts, blogs, Twitters, music, with mostly free online tools, and distribute the DIY product via free socnets and file sharing status updaters.

Connectivity is King, then Presentation,, and thirdly: Content.

Smart companies will provide more types, and better reliability, of social media with networking tools, and let the audience create their own content, share it, remix and refactor it, in a Creative Commons environment, and it’s the End of Stardom, Rise of Everyone.

I think.

v0.4 PHP client library released · Thursday September 20, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

Sufficient development of the PHP API or client library to the www.contingencymarket.com has occurred to warrant another point release – not that anyone’s using it yet (me neither).

Some progress on monetary deposits, but withdrawals still need doing, as do transfers upon deal completion.

The example site has had some of its sharper edges smoothed off, but at the cost of greater complexity.

The thing is, you can’t make much use of the Contingency Market unless you’re authenticated, and for that we need to manage the authentication process. It’s tricky to demonstrate that without a relatively complex login process. So, the example site isn’t just a single PHP file any more, but several, i.e. CM_PHP_Client_v0.4.zip

Scott Carpenter said 4582 days ago :

Interesting — thanks. I should also spend more time coding and less time blogging, probably. :-)

Reaccrediting Micropayments · Wednesday September 05, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

Micropayments work when the payer WANTS to pay and the payee is happy to accept such payments.

When you have a million willing payers and one payee, then you have micropayments. When you have 999,900 unwilling payers and a hundred naïfs then you have uneconomic microcharging.

For micropayments you also need goods that can be perfectly reproduced a million fold at insignificant cost to payee and payers.

All this is obvious, it just hasn’t all been put together yet.

  1. We have digital goods that can be perfectly reproduced a million fold.
  2. We have a billion online users of the Internet.
  3. We have a billion creators of digital goods each of whom might be persuaded to accept $1,000 even from a thousand payers at a dollar a piece.
  4. We have a billion people many of whom can think of a few things they’d gladly pay a dollar for.

What you can’t do is microcharge for copies of published works. Well, you can try, but you won’t get very far.

Micropayments have a future. Microcharging is the flawed impostor that discredited it.

Unfortunately, because micropayments have been discredited, people feel they need to find another term.

Thus we have Micropledges instead (hat tip Mike Linksvayer).

Another Milestonette · Tuesday August 07, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

A slightly longer chain of events is now going on:

  1. Authenticated Contingency Market user logs in to demo CM client website
  2. Website requests new invoice from CM
  3. User clicks on PayPal deposit button
  4. Pays invoice
  5. PayPal notifies deposit to Payment System web service
  6. Executive polls Payment System for new events
  7. Executive alerted of new payment
  8. Executive instructs CM to adjust user’s funds
  9. CM Adjusts user’s funds

Adjustment in CM to be reflected in client website.

Will release client site and API v0.4 soon.

Ideating Identity · Wednesday July 11, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

Who am I?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I think I know who I am. I’m me.

Ah, but, perhaps the question uses the word ‘who’ as discriminator, as in “Which person of many am I, and what means can I provide to enable anyone to demonstrate this?”


Identity in 5 Minutes

Consider twins. We can’t identify people 100% based on appearance, but it’s pretty good. We can’t identify people by their names – not only are there many called ‘John Smith’, but knowing that one twin is John and the other is Jack doesn’t actually help you identify John. Having a name or ‘identifier’ doesn’t constitute identity, it’s the label you can attach to the identity once you’ve apprehended it.

What we are left with is the only thing guaranteed to be 100% unique, an individual’s experience (their mind and its memories). And we can only corroborate this by referring to those who have intersecting experiences, i.e. who have memories of encounters with the person to be identified.

However, corroboration remains hearsay. We can never be 100% certain, we can only be confident according to how well we trust the words of those we consult, and this can depend upon how well we know them, or how well those we know know them, etc.

We find that identity coincides with reputation.

We also find that identity/reputation is not something that the individual possesses. Their identitiy/reputation is something possessed collectively, in part, by everyone they have ever met.

In correspondence or online, appearances are rarely available. We therefore need to create artificial appearances, artificial names, and artificial recordings of meetings/transactions and appraisals thereof. From these we can create artificial identities and reputations. These needn’t correspond to human beings, i.e. humans can control multiple artificial identities, and some identities may be entirely controlled by computer, whether AI traders or dumb proxies.

Online, we don’t record our identities, we record our experiences of everyone we deal with.

Identity/reputation is extracted collectively, ad hoc.

The Identity Reputation Duality1

I think we should disintegrate everything back to first principles, which also means decentralised and distributed. Deconstruct ‘identity’ and all preconceived notions related to it (especially IT based ones). It’s probably best to rewind one’s perspective back to a preindustrialised era too – just to be safe.

Identity is reputation and, for convenience, an associated name.

Identity is something an individual entity possesses only as a consequence of the fact that they are inescapably distinct from any other individual, by dint of a distinct experience (interaction with other individuals). Even a cloned identity will immediately diverge into a distinct identity from its fellow clones.

An individual’s identity is not constructed by the individual, but is a product of their relationships with others. Thus if they partition their relationships they can obtain separated/multiple identities.

However, identity is dependent upon the individual’s memory/experience of their relationships with others, because it is only through corroboration by shared memories/experience that the identity is sustained. A ‘Stepford wife’ becomes detached from their identity despite retaining their name and appearance. However, the identity they lost has not been destroyed – it remains intact in the minds of those they knew.

Incidentally, because it is a more familiar term and is less jarring to our understanding of how identity operates in human society, I will sometimes use ‘individual’ even though ‘identity’ is generally more accurate. We just need to bear in mind that a 1:1:1 correspondence of human:individual:identity is just the familiar case, i.e. to at least keep at the back of our minds that an individual is not necessarily human, and may possess multiple identities.

An individual’s name is a disambiguator only from the perspective of each individual it encounters (has relations with). The name only needs explicit disambiguation if two or more individuals need frequent reference in the discussion of one or more other individuals who know them. If I know two John Smiths I may need to use “John Smith the deputy prime minister” and “John Smith my brother in law”, which is often rendered unnecessary through context. However, each John Smith may have no other relations that need such disambiguation (everyone else they know may be unaware of another John Smith). Names do not need to be universally unique.

The uniqueness of an identity does not come from its name, but from the identity’s uniqueness. It means the identity is amenable to a unique name, but it doesn’t depend upon one. A unique address saves time in delivery, but again, the ‘wrong’ John Smith will recognise cases of mistaken identity and can disambiguate upon such occasions.

So, when we pare it right back, we find that identity consists only of a set of shared memories of interactions. A unique-ish appearance that helps us associate an individual with a unique-ish name that we associate with a set of memories of previous interactions with that individual. We don’t even need the appearance – it’s just helpful. Given a typewritten letter and a name, we can corroborate the letter/name with our memories for that named individual. For people we know well or who are otherwise distinguishable by the nature or content of their writing, the name can often be omitted, and we can still recognise the identity of the author.

However, it is the nature of human beings that identity is difficult to impersonate if appearance is involved (disguise can be tricky), so we may readily authenticate identity on appearance alone, and only worry if what should be self corroborating shared memories fail to corroborate. A new Stepford Wife, despite initial acceptance of authenticity obtained through identical appearance, soon triggers ‘corroboration failure’ alarms in the minds of those who presumed the presence of the previous identity.

So, identity is first protected from impersonation by the difficulty of reproduction of appearance (including voice, mannerism, smell, etc.), but secondly protected by the difficulty of reproduction of memory (non-consensually).

Why do we care about impersonation? Because 1) we don’t know that impersonation is occurring, and 2) we don’t know the identity of the impersonator. If we don’t know that impersonation is occurring then any decisions that we may make dependent upon an identity (and their reputation) become invalid – likely to be highly divergent with the decisions we’d make were we aware of the true identity (invariably the impersonators’ precise intention).

If we knew that impersonation was occurring, we’d at least be able to avoid making incorrect decisions. And if we also knew the impersonator’s identity then we need only decide whether their intention is fraud, benign substitution or humour.

Benign substitution is where impersonation occurs with the consent of the original identity (perhaps unable to be present) – hopefully undetectably (with risk of detection). This may be dishonest, but at least no harm is intended. All decisions are likely to be safe where the impersonator can sufficiently replicate shared memories and convey new ones back to the original identity. This also assumes a situation in which the original identity’s body or other associated property is not required to be present (unless it too can be sufficiently emulated).

The reproducibility of identity requires knowledge of shared memories:

  1. obtaining them via records (diary)
  2. obtaining them directly (from discussions with one or more of those who possess them)
  3. continued company with the identity to be impersonated and/or others with which they share memories

Humans are thus careful where they keep their diaries and what they put in them. They also keep track of who knows them and their friends the best, and ensure they can trust those that are close to them. Corroboration can invariably be achieved through exhaustive search of shared memories that haven’t been written down. And unshared memories are 100% private – for humans – hence Deckard’s easy demonstration to Rachel of her replicant nature by describing some of her undisclosed, private memories (Blade Runner).

So, an individual doesn’t hold their identity so much as half of it, which is a means of corroborating it. The other half is held by everyone they’ve ever known. This also means that the individual’s identity could be recreated if everyone they’ve ever known could collaborate. Even so, the individual could retain a secret that might demonstrate their superior claim to the identity over that of an impostor.

But, I’ve said from the start that an identity comprises reputation. This is because identity is more than a set of shared memories. Identity is ‘who you are as a person’ – in the eyes of those who know you. Thus identity is also reputation, a set of shared memories of the quality and strength of relationships. Trustworthiness (reciprocal exposure of risk, etc.), reliability, punctuality, number and value of meetings, interactions, transactions, etc.

Identity in Practice

I think this is enough to begin to get a glimpse of how a distributed identity/reputation system might look.

  1. An identity is a closed list of names of other identities with which this identity has had one or more relations with in the past, and attributes associated with each relationship. This can be secured by the owner of the identity with a human memorable password (which must nevertheless, withstand dictionary attack).
  2. Identities are online (http/soap) or near-line (e-mail) autonomous, interactive entities.
  3. Each identity has a non-unique, human readable name, e.g. “Fred Bloggs”.
  4. Each identity has a unique ‘appearance’, e.g. a universally unique public key (only disclosed per encounter).
  5. Any identity can be asked if it recognises an identity’s name, and if so, whether they have the same appearance (without needing to exchange the public key).
  6. Any identity can be asked for its subjective measure of another identity’s reputation.
  7. Any identity can be asked to disclose one or more ‘well known’/reputable identities with which it has had a relationship (referees).
  8. When two identities interact for the first time they exchange a secret (appearances/public key’s are exchanged to do this) and each demonstrates to the other ownership of their appearance (knowledge of private key).
  9. Upon the formation of a relationship, identities may exchange contact details: primary and secondary online locations (web service URIs), with backup near-line locations (e-mail addresses).
  10. If identity X suspects A knows B, X can ask A to corroborate B’s identity by immediately interacting with B and confirming knowledge of the secret previously exchanged.

Identities DO NOT contain any private data beyond qualitative measures of interactions.

Identities can make no truth assertions concerning other identities, except whether they have evidence that the identity is authentic and that they have had a previous relationship.

Identity is not a matter of private data retention, or trusting others to exchange the identity’s private data. Keeping some relationships and transactions secret is a separate matter.

The reputation of an identity is held by others. An identity records subjective reputations of others.

By interacting with several identities that one knows it should be possible to gauge a less subjective measure of the reputation of an identity that one expects to have a relationship with.

An identity could maintain a cache of identities it has explored a relationship with, but ultimately decided against.

1 Closely based on my post to the ProjectVRM mailing list on 2nd July 2007.

Harald K said 4631 days ago :

Man, I found you through the wikipedia page on Assurance contracts. As far as I can see the work you do is important and great, but I wouldn’t know if I wasn’t very familiar with the concepts before.

Your explanations are not exactly accessible, you know. It took me a while to figure out that this post was neither joking nor crazy (... right?).

I hope you have someone to help you with the marketing :-)

Crosbie Fitch said 4631 days ago :

Thanks for the perceptive comment Harald.
There’s very little that I publish that I expect will increase the size of my audience.
The FeedBurner subscriber count of zero should help assure readers that this is an esoteric blog where the author is the primary judge of quality.

I’m glad that I have at least one reader who is familiar with the concepts.

I apologise for my inaccessible explanations.

I do aspire to accessibility, but it is a long, uphill struggle.

I try sprinkling a little crazy humour here and there, but I’m pretty serious about what I write.


Scott Carpenter said 4630 days ago :

Now the subscriber count shows 2. I’ve been subscribing for some time but was using a built-in feed instead of Feedburner. (Does Textile have a plugin of some sort to redirect to the FB feed?)

Crosbie Fitch said 4630 days ago :

Hi Scott, I really wouldn’t want anyone to try and figure out how to fix the insignificant statistical vagaries of Feedburner’s metrics. It’s designed for bloggers who get at least 20 new readers every day.

Textile isn’t really a blog tool for those seeking blog fame and fortune. Unfortunately, it does attract the generic attention of comment spam so I’ve used the only captcha plug-in I could find.
I don’t think there’s much in the way of FB support – nor much demand.

Consider the FB subscriber counter a little amusement on my part.

Scott Carpenter said 4629 days ago :

Sure — I should have mentioned with my last comment that I realized the exact number wasn’t really the point — maybe I just wanted to say, I’m here! :-) Having the FB count on my site appeals to my neediness, but maybe it’s all just splogs that are subscribed. In any case, the number is best treated lightly.

(One feature that would be much more helpful here is a feed for comments on individual posts. I like to subscribe when I make comments so I can follow the conversation.)

Crosbie Fitch said 4629 days ago :

I presume you are e-mailed when I reply to this comment? If not, yes, it’s a bit naff.

Maybe there might be an option to create a feed for “all comments”? I’m not sure, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

I’ll have another look at the FB vs Textile RSS subscription thingy too.

Crosbie Fitch said 4628 days ago :

Ok, Scott, I’ve discovered a treasure trove of plug-ins for TextPattern that I’d previously missed: Textpattern Resources

I’ve created a site-wide comment feed on the front page, and a per article comment feed.

TextPattern may not be the blog of choice for the bloggerati, but it’s very good and I’m glad I chose it.

Scott Carpenter said 4598 days ago :

Hey! I’m a little behind — I just noticed the new per-post comments feed in the IPistemology post and then found the announcement here. This is great — thanks! (Now I won’t be a month behind in the conversation.)

Bron Gondwana said 4332 days ago :

Coming along rather late, but I just wanted to reply to this bit:

… Even so, the individual could retain a secret that might demonstrate their superior claim to the identity over that of an impostor …

Actually, that’s bogus. If they have a secret that’s not known to anyone else, then the only person they can use that secret to prove their identity to is themselves. Kinda pointless.

Crosbie Fitch said 4332 days ago :

Possession of a secret need not necessarily be demonstrated by corroboration, but by an action that could only be performed by the possessor of the secret.

Thus, if with one’s distributed identity a code or digital signature is also supplied, then an imposter should be less able to demonstrate decryption of the code (despite otherwise having been able to recreate the identity). Each component of the identity may also be signed (not encrypted).

Ronny Ager-Wick said 4229 days ago :

This is brilliant! This is the research they should have done before they started using OpenID.
I landed on this page while researching OpenID here: idcorner.org/2007/08…
In essence, my conclusion is that OpenID must have been made by monkeys, for monkeys – thus only monkeys will use it…

However, it would be interesting to build an online trust/ID protocol based on the same principles as the society is based on, like you’re outlining here.




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