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Value distribution in Backfeed and Quantified Prestige

Continuing the discussion from The conceptual GeoFlux currency:

http://magazine.backfeed.cc/the-backfeed-protocol-an-introduction-for-mere-mortals/

It seems that the main focus of Backfeed is getting value distribution within (decentralized) networks of people right. That is a goal that is also followed by Quantified Prestige, but it’s only a secondary consideration, after its main goal of transcending artificial digital scarcity.

What are the relative merits of Backfeed and Quantified Prestige, respectively, when it comes to network-internal value distribution?

Properties of Backfeed

  • Backfeed seems to be decentralised from the start.
  • Backfeed prevents certain failure modes of reputation systems by creating incentives to grant reputation in a way that is similar to those of others.
  • Backfeed also creates a log of actions of all users. Each action can be rated, which contributes to the overall reputation of the user.
  • Rating actions can be rated, too.

Properties of Quantified Prestige

  • QP can work in a centralised way for small groups of people who really trust each other.
  • Esteem points are strictly limited in QP, so that no reputation inflation is possible.
  • Esteem points can be allocated freely, and can be taken back at any time.
  • Obivous failure modes are avoided by using specific factors which can reduce esteem power under certain conditions
  • Esteem point allocation is usually private, while reputation scores (Prestige) are public

Both systems may have their own strengths and disadvantages. I wonder whether it may be possible to combine both systems in a way that will create a better combined system. Alternatively, each system might adopt elements of the other system to improve its own quality.

What do you think?

To me Backfeed strongly resembles certain important algorithms in the machine learning field. Such as the k-means and self organizing map. However, Backfeed is the first time I hear of anything like them being applied in this way as an organizing pricinple behind humans co-operating with each other.

What it shares with k-means and SOM is a very simple and elegant basic iterative process that ends up with a sensible clustering of the input data. I expect it’ll be pretty good in connecting people who’ll be able to work well together.

You can’t see this effect if you only consider a single Backfeed network, but when you take a bird’s eye view, the result will be a number of overlapping networks that are each comprised of the people best able to work together for a shared purpose.

I’m especially interested in it’s potential for replacing political parties and the current governmental systems with a much more fine grained and adaptive dynamic system. The current structures are way too rigid and inflexible.

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Right, Backfeed seems to be a system to cluster people according to their value judgements. The result should be a fractal system of overlapping communities, a fractal society. Individuals can be parts of several communities at once, but they may want to focus their activities in which they get the most value. If we formalize value, then this the value of a community for an individual is its share of the total value in the community. Misalignment with the value judgements of the community will reduce that share, so it seems rational to branch out into smaller communities in which alignment is higher. In the worst case, people will focus on doing stuff on their own, if they don’t find a fitting community they can align with.

Also, people will tend to avoid communities with low total value, since their share in those will be low due to low total value, even if they are perfectly aligned with them. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. If you follow a bad strategy that creates little value, teaming up with others who follow the same bad strategy won’t help. You really need to switch to a different strategy to increase your evolutionary fitness. Of course, if it’s a strategy that requires the collaboration of many people, then teaming up should be encouraged, since then the effectiveness of the strategy should reflect positively on the results of the community.

It’s important to note that this system creates incentives for individuals to adapt their own expressed value judgements to those of the community they are most in alignment with (or gain most value from), if the prospect of creating a smaller community, in which their alignment is maximized seems unlikely to work out – for example because the individual in question is not a good leader, or holds too uncommon views.

In a sense “value generating communities” may be a generalisation both of economic and political organisations. The value people gain from communities can be both economic and political in nature. What we get in the end, is a network society fuelled by a network economy, in which self-organisation, and adaptation processes drive progress for individuals and networks alike.

Since Backfeed provides feedback on expressed value judgements, it drives forward the process of fractalisation in a fractal network society. That is something that Quantified Prestige doesn’t do as much, because the value expression power is basically equally distributed among the peers of a QP network, and there is no embedded feedback mechanism on your expressed value judgements.

But then this difference seems to come from the different main functions of Backfeed and QP:

  • Backfeed is there to create a fractal network society
  • Quantified Prestige is there to create digital abundance (via currencies such as GeoFlux)

I think that it should be noted that this is a pretty unlikely scenario. Especially since The existing backfeed networks overlap and that overlap can be followed towards networks more in alignment with you. You’d have to be truly alone with your views to end up in this situation for an extended period of time.

Not necessarily, not everyone is looking for generally accepted value. I expect we’ll get low value networks that only exist to provide social activity to their members. Although, I expect some of them will end up becoming high value networks as they grow.

I wouldn’t be too sure that will end up being the optimal strategy. Mostly because while it does increase your influence, it’ll also tie your hands from using it they way you want. You’ll have to use the influence in the way you’re pretending to think or you’ll lose it.

Also, Backfeed can perhaps reduce (or completely eliminate) the need for a single person who can do everything that’s expected of a leader in today’s world. It’s not entirely inconceivable that leadership could be an emergent property in a Backfeed network. That is, the different leadership tasks could end up being delegated to the separate people who’re individually the best at them. It might take some time for people to get used to the idea though.

I’ve got a feeling that Backfeed might end up handling the production of digital abundance as well. For example. it might be entirely possible to run a movie production community with Backfeed. How would QP interact with the Backfeed community in such a case?

Oh, this sounds like you’ve just “retrodicted” the success of Facebook, Twitter (and 4chan) :wink: Apparently, “social activity” seems to be pretty valuable to very many people.

That’s a valid point, but humans have a very peculiar way of dealing with this problem: They adopt their own actual values to the values of the masks they wear. They fake it, until they become it.

That is a very optimistic vision (which I’m not entirely convinced of). I am curious as to how you see leadership. Into what qualities and functions can it be decomposed from your point of view?

It may very well be quite possible that Backfeed is good at handling internal value distribution within the movie production community. But what kind of community is that? Is it all based on voluntary effort? How it the movie financed? Is it based on crowdfunding? Donations? Sponsorship? Merchandisement? Something else?

QP makes most sense, if there is a global universal currency like GeoFlux coupled to it. In that case, the movie production community could gain reputation in the global QP network and get GeoFlux from that reputation. That would be a rather convenient way of getting rewarded for making movies.

Backfeed would handle the internal economy of the community, while QP would be responsible for the interaction with the external economy. I don’t see how Backfeed would handle the interaction with a complex external economy in a way that was better than what QP could do. But perhaps you do?