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Firefox Extension for Applied Social Networking 161

wanderingstan writes "Outfoxed is my masters thesis project about trust. (Nutshell overview) The extension uses a social network for personalized searching, phishing/spyware protection, file/process validation and more. It's related to del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, and those Kevin Bacon things, but goes a lot further. Mathematically, it's based on the network behavior of small world networks (pdf). Built with Javascript, Python, SQL, and XSLT. 366 testers so far, but we need the network to grow!"
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Firefox Extension for Applied Social Networking

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  • by bad_outlook ( 868902 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:20PM (#12864078) Homepage
    he wanted the network to *grow* or get slashdotted to death?

  • by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:23PM (#12864104) Homepage Journal
    Chris Anderson (of Wired and The Long Tail [thelongtail.com] fame) had a great post [typepad.com] about why social networks might not be the best way to do recommendations and personalization. An excerpt:
    No matter who you are, someone you don't know has found the coolest stuff.

    The sad reality is that most of my friends have rotten taste in music (I don't hold it against them), while the music recommendations I actually follow are mostly from people I've never met.

    The assumption that there's a correlation between the people I like and the products I like is a flawed one.
    On the one hand, you trust your friends, so things your friends clicked on might be interesting for you to know about. On the other hand, friendships are not a good predictor for recommendations since your friends often have different interests from you.

    It's a cool idea, but I'm not sure how many people would bother to set this up, how often this will change the search results, whether the changes will focus your attention on the most relevant result for your search, and whether you can scale a system that accesses data on everyone in your social network on every web search.
    • by capt.Hij ( 318203 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:28PM (#12864150) Homepage Journal
      Another example is the state of Utah! Salt Lake City is the smallest city to have its own SEC office, and the state suffers from a high rate for people getting ripped off by people they know. This has been attributed by the close network of people within the LDS Church. Somebody who is intent on ripping someone off can join the church and instantly gain a large web of trust.
    • It's a cool idea, but I'm not sure how many people would bother to set this up

      Agreed. I installed "StumbleUpon" a few weeks ago. I still haven't used the tool. And, since will probably never find the time to use it, I should just un-install it.

      The quality of the metadata in a network like this is directly correlated to how many people actually take the time to collect and submit data. Don't forget that there are always a few "bad apples" that will purposefully recommend bad links. Take spyware compan

    • On the one hand, you trust your friends, so things your friends clicked on might be interesting for you to know about. On the other hand, friendships are not a good predictor for recommendations since your friends often have different interests from you.

      Exactly. Trust involves two aspects: competence, and compassion. Friends are often compassionate, but may not neccessarily be competant in the interests you have (ie, none of my "friends" are on in my basketball weekend group). Likewise, those guys in the b

    • Who says they have to be your friends. A smiler model works in yahoo music engine and TIVO. I may not like the same music as my friends. But somewhere there is someone with very similar tastes to me.

      For example. I like classic rock. My friends may not like it. But someone else must also like classic rock. And if they like and dislike similar artists and songs we have a compatible match.
      • That's right. Oftentimes, people select "friends" who would never be real friends in life, but simply people who share interests. Social networking tools like StumbleUpon make it very easy to discover those with similar interests, then you can "stumble upon" links they found interesting.
    • Which is why services like Audioscrobbler [audioscrobbler.com] are much better for music recommendations. It recommends music to you based on the listening habits of other users that listen to similar music as you.
    • On the one hand, you trust your friends, so things your friends clicked on might be interesting for you to know about. On the other hand, friendships are not a good predictor for recommendations since your friends often have different interests from you.

      One important difference is that Outfoxed doesn't assume that the people feeding you metadata are friends-- that's one reason why I chose the more neutral word informer, which can be a person, organization (example [trustbase.org]), or even auto-generated list (examp [del.icio.us]

      • But in any case, I'm looking forward to what the slashdot masses think of my project...and to how my ISP holds up.

        Well, I just installed it and it looks pretty good. I can't get an informer account at the moment due to slashdotting, but I'll try again tomorrow.

        One feature I immediately expected but didn't see was something along the lines of "If you like this site, check out ..." as part of the reports.

        Good luck with the project!

    • by natrius ( 642724 ) <niran@@@niran...org> on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:54PM (#12864404) Homepage
      As another person mentioned, the people you entrust while using this system don't actually have to be people you know. For instance, if you take a look at someone's del.icio.us links page and there are tons of things that interest you, you would probably trust them to inform your browsing decisions.

      This system looks like a good way of implementing spyware/adware prevention and the like based on trust, but I don't think it will do so well for general browsing as you point out. There are plenty of people I would trust to help me stay away from spyware who I wouldn't want pointing me to web sites to read, mainly because I read vastly different things on the Internet from many of my friends. A system tha would work for this is something like Amazon's recommendation system. Without fail, Amazon emails me stuff that I'm actually interested in based on things I've bought from them. If something could use my web browsing history and compare it with that of others to suggest sites to read, that would be awesome. There are tons of privacy issues there, but putting those aside, I think such a system would be very effective.

      One thing that might break such a system would be spammers. Spammers like to break anything that's good on the Internet with advertising, and this would be no exception. I think it would be hard to replicate a normal browsing history while inserting a few ad links, and submit those histories on a large enough scale to make those sites show up as results.

      Anyway, I've gone off on a bit of a tangent. My point is that trust works well for many of the stated goals, but not so much for what I really want: all the good information on the Internet pumped straight into my brain.
    • The assumption that there's a correlation between the people I like and the products I like is a flawed one.

      Well, I have a certain amount in common with my friends - that's one of the reasons they became friends. They assumption that I will like everything they like may be flawed, but the counter assumption, that there is no commonality in taste, seems equally absurd.

      On the one hand, you trust your friends, so things your friends clicked on might be interesting for you to know about. On the other

    • by joepeg ( 87984 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:08PM (#12864508)
      On the one hand, you trust your friends, so things your friends clicked on might be interesting for you to know about.

      Obviously, you've never had a friend relentlessly forward you email chain letters insisting "I know you hate these ... but this one is funny/great/interesting/etc..."
    • "On the other hand, friendships are not a good predictor for recommendations since your friends often have different interests from you."

      That's been one of the little mysteries in my life. You know you have Friend A and Friend B, and you like them both a lot? Then one day you introduce A to B and realize they don't like each other...at all. Yet you still like A and you still like B.

      Some part of your personality is responding to something each of those people has, yet clearly they are each appealing

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:26PM (#12864122) Homepage Journal
    No Links?
  • Outfoxed is my masters thesis project about trust.

    I'll show you what I know about trust by not installing your spyware extension!

    Kidding aside, sounds like an interesting project. Even though I won't be taking part, I wish you the best of luck with it...
  • by moz25 ( 262020 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:27PM (#12864134) Homepage
    Well, the thing is that I can trust many people I know with my life, but not with my computer.
    • > Well, the thing is that I can trust many people I know with my life, but not with my computer.

      ...maybe if you stop stocking up all that weird pr0n stuff
    • Sad but true. Very few people should be allowed to do anything of significance with a computer but could be trusted to not endanger your life (unless it was endangered THROUGH their use of your computer).

      This is probably why mac's only have one mouse button. Bet they'd have done away with the keyboard too if they could get away with it.
  • by techmuse ( 160085 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:28PM (#12864140)
    I've previously published two papers on a very similar idea - using distributed social trust networks to make trust judgements, which is essentially what Outfoxed is. You can find the papers at:

    The Solar Trust Model
    Michael Clifford, Charles Lavine, Matt Bishop
    http://www.acsac.org/1998/abstracts/fri-a-1030-cli fford.pdf [acsac.org]

    Networking in The Solar Trust Model: Determining Optimal Trust Paths in a Decentralized Trust Network
    http://www.acsac.org/2002/papers/9.pdf [acsac.org]
  • by xtermin8 ( 719661 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:28PM (#12864154)
    I tried googling "kevin bacon things" and "extensions" the results I got were really disturbing. Please, we don't need any more of these on the net!
  • by joey_knisch ( 804995 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:30PM (#12864171)
    I [nih.gov] think [thinkprogress.org] he [he-man.org] needed [redcross.org] more [google.com] random [timecube.com] links. [sourceforge.net]
  • Good idea in theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:31PM (#12864178) Homepage Journal
    ... but in practice, you open the door to increased risk... navigating bookmarks of someone you don't know could run you right into spyware/malware... there aren't enough filters in the world to keep up with what is put out there.

    Sadly, too, the concept of Monkey Sphere comes in, too...

    http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/monkeysphere.h tml [pointlesswasteoftime.com] ...

    Though it will start small, it will eventually become just too big, if it survives... it will become just another random maze of links for people to click through at 3am when they should be coding for a project due at midnight the next day.


    Sorry to be a drag, just being realistic :/
    • Not to mention who do you trust?

      If you friends have poor taste and strangers don't, how do you find the strangers who won't try to screw you over?


      Perhaps I am being less realistic and more pessimistic, maybe I'll just wait and see how this sort of thing plays out ;)
    • random maze of links for people to click through at 3am when they should be coding for a project due at midnight the next day.

      In that case, they have 45 hours to complete the project, in which case.... click away!!!
    • That is why you're supposed to limit your network to people you actually know and trust and maybe one level beyond that.

      It's not like the social bookmark sites, where you wander around stranger's bookmarks when the site notices that you have similiar tastes. You have to manually place all of your friends/family/trusted people into the program, and it gives you little reports for every site you visit. Heck, I don't think it even lets you share bookmarks, though if it does that isn't the main features.
    • It's a fact that the majority of crimes are committed against people by those they are familiar with. This seems likely when you consider celebrities make themselves so well known that people practically identify with them as if they were family - thus why they go to such lengths to secure themselves. Sort of negates the whole "stranger danger" philosophy that is always pushed and boost the idea of "keeping your enemies closer".

      I agree with some of the other posters in that my friends have terrible taste
  • Identity evasion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Paul Crowley ( 837 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:31PM (#12864182) Homepage Journal
    For recommendations in favour, this sounds great, so long as the trust metric is attack resistant as described in Raph Levien's thesis. Google PageRank is an example of an attack resistant trust metric.

    For recommendations against, it's very hard to make this work, because it's hard to make the shit stick; every time the global reputation of a particular identity takes a dive, it's easy to shift to another one which has no recommendations either way.

    Creating hard-to-evade IDs is a very hard problem.
    • I don't know about pagerank being that trustworthy. If I look for a review, I find tons of sites selling stuff - including a small button to add my own (very trusted review. That is not what I am looking for. Even if I find a review using Google, the chances are that it is a bad review written by a single person who bought the product, and was stupid enough to think people care about such "reviews" and wrote one.
      • Even if I find a review using Google, the chances are that it is a bad review written by a single person who bought the product, and was stupid enough to think people care about such "reviews" and wrote one.

        Why do you put "single persons" down like that?

        When I'm in the process of making a buying decision I'm looking for these "single-person"-reviews in particular. I found most of these review published on private homepages or blogs much more helpful than most of the stuff I find on "professional" review-
  • User != Others (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:32PM (#12864188) Homepage
    What I wonder is this: Yes it does seem like an interesting idea, but how many of your friends run the same software you do? I still have friends that I'm trying to convert from IE, but it's too easy for them use what's already there. I know plenty of cliques that hang together because they all like running BSD/Linux and deal with programming and such, but none of them use the same distro or the same preferences.

    My bottom line is this: Look at your best friends computer. Do they have the same extensions that you do? Do they even run Firefox? The network can only be as expansive as the people that decide to jump on board.
  • By posting it here, will you attract the slashdot moderation messages?

  • sql go boom (Score:5, Interesting)

    by farker haiku ( 883529 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:34PM (#12864205) Journal
    Every file and process should have a chain of trust leading back to the user. Any file or process without such a chain is being taken on faith, and the user should be warned accordingly.
    For example, every process run by a computer should have a chain that looks something like this:

    wuauclt.exe [executed by] Windows Update [installed by] Windows OS [installed by] User [trusted by] Root User
    matlabserver.exe [executed by] MatLab Application [installed by] User [trusted by] Root User
    And similarly, every file should also have a chain:

    desktopicon.ico [created by] FireFox Application [installed by] User [trusted by] Root User
    mydocument.doc [created by] MS Word Application [installed by] Root User
    Ideally, management of trust should be done at the lowest levels of computation: in the operating system or even in the microprocessor itself. This limits the ability of malicious software from disrupting the chain of trust back to the user. Outfoxed, because it is just an extension, has many vulnerabilities. Primary is the vulnerability of the locally stored trust database.

    The next step would be to have trust storage implemented as a continuously running process that could be queried by other applications. [Note 22/03: The new version does this, using HTTP for queries.] So the browser, email client, and word processor could all draw trust information from the same source.

    The best solution would be to have this process integrated into the operating system itself, so that the OS could also take advantage of the trust information by only running trusted applications. Trust managed at this level, combined with a good security methodology, would give us the ultimate trustworthy environment.

    • Re:sql go boom (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerf ( 17166 )
      This isn't a very good idea for a host of practical reasons, mostly centering around the fact it is too simplistic.

      IMHO, you are reaching for a capabilities-based model [eros-os.org], which works out at least somewhat better in practice, though it is an open question of whether it works well enough to use. (Link leads to a group trying to build an OS on the idea, and I know it hasn't been completely smooth sailing, but I am not intimately familiar with the project.)

      That should give you a springboard for further investi
    • Re:sql go boom (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dodobh ( 65811 )
      Trusted by whom? Just because your OS vendor trusts someone does not mean that the rest of us do.

      A trusts B
      B trusts C

      does not imply A trusts C
    • Re:sql go boom (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gorath99 ( 746654 )
      Unfortunately, this would just lead to:

      Spyware Program [installed by] Spyware Installer [executed by]] KaZaA Installer [trusted by] User [trusted by] Root User


      Spyware Program [executed by] ActiveX component [executed by] Internet Explorer [trusted by] Windows [trusted by] Root User

      Which is exactly what's already happening.

      While it would certainly be nice to have this kind of info so you can trace back where files and processes came from, it wouldn't stop malicious programs in the slightest.
    • If there is a limit to how far one is willing to delegate trust, it would be far more useful. Ie. root could withhold the ability to delegate trust from some users to prevent them from installing software. Or software could have its ability to recieve that delegation limited (unable to install more software).
    • Would you please clarify if you are suggesting a system strictly secured for the owner, or a system that ALSO happens be be secured AGAINST the owner?

      In particular are you suggesting owners be able to know any and all keys on their own computer? Owners able to access anything they wish on their own computer? Owners able to do anything they wish on their own computer? Owners able to modify anything they wish on their own computer? Owners able to modify or defeat any "security" system on their own computer?
  • 366 testers so far, but we need the network to grow!

    Don't wish for more than you can chew!

    Warning: mysql_connect(): User wanderin_drpl2 has already more than 'max_user_connections' active connections in
  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:35PM (#12864213) Homepage Journal
    what's to stop social-network-bookmark spamming?

    "Green Tennis Shoes are the best! Come see my kewl site about Green Tennis Shoes [blogspot.com]!"

    And you're taken to some guy's blog. Is there a rating system, and if so, how well does it work?
    • See the Objections page [getoutfoxed.com], item 2:

      Within a web of trust, Googlebombing just doesn't work. If you are the would-be bomber, you have to convince a lot of people to add you as an informer. And then you have to hope that the people you have conned are informers to many other people. You must further hope that none of these other people will notice the bogus links and report you as untrustworthy. That's just too many levels of failure for googlebombing to be effective. (This also applies for straight-up hackin

    • I wonder why my site [porn-a-licious.com] is never mentioned when talking about social activity.
  • Its Slashdotted
    It doesn't seem to work in OSX

    I got "outfoxed_mddb_server is not compiled for your OS please start it now ... "
    when firefox restarted after installing the plugin.

    Its been trying to create the database for 10 min now ...
    • Re:Two things ... (Score:3, Informative)

      It says right there on the download page

      Windows XP:
      Download outfoxed_beta_0.2.90d.xpi
      (Where are the Linux and Mac versions?) [getoutfoxed.com]

      And from that page seeing as the site is flakey...

      2005-06-18 Note: Udo has compiled Mac and Linux versions. We need to wrap it up into an installation package though...so hopefully next week. Register to be notified by email when it's ready.
  • by lbmouse ( 473316 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:37PM (#12864237) Homepage
    "366 testers so far, but we need the network to grow!"

    No, apparently you don't:

    Warning: mysql_connect(): User wanderin_drpl2 has already more than 'max_user_connections' active connections in /home/wanderin/public_html/getoutfoxed/includes/da tabase.mysql.inc on line 31 User wanderin_drpl2 has already more than 'max_user_connections' active connections
  • If people used the brains that are supposedly inside their skulls, there would be no need for these not very useful methods of 'protection.' How many people out there would have given a thumbs up to Kazaa? My friends are great to hang out with but tend to spread the computer equivalent of STDs.
    • "Against stupidity even gods struggle in vain."

      Nice article on BBC [bbc.co.uk] (via [slashdot.org]) about how most users don't even know the words for threats on the internet.

      Confusing "geek speak" used by experts and media included "phishing", "rogue dialler", "Trojan" and "spyware".

      Eighty-four percent did not know that phishing describes faked e-mail scams.
      A quarter said they knew what "spyware" was, although almost one in 10 of those thought it was a computer program that kept an eye on unfaithful partner

    • I have the same thought, I have an awful lot of friends that I would NOT trust to know if they even had spyware or not. I get no benefit at all from joining such a network, and similarily the people who the network could benefit most will be the most leery of joining and carry the least weight in determining what is safe instead of what is popular.
  • by udderly ( 890305 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:42PM (#12864290)

    The example in the "nutshell example [getoutfoxed.com]" seems like a good enough idea, but I'm curious, what's to ensure that the results stay good as the connections increase? In this example, it very quickly gets to a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend status. It seems that for each hop you take away from the most trusted people in your social network, good advice gets exponentially harder to find.

    For example, if you asked your brother--who just had his bathroom redone--for a recommendation on a good plumber, you might expect some good advice. But how much credence are you going to give the advice of your brother's co-worker's nephew's best friend?

    • by tdvaughan ( 582870 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:18PM (#12864603) Homepage
      That's no problem. You just make trust decay. With every hop away from your own directly linked network the trust metric is reduced. So I might give my Dad a trust value of 10/10 (i.e. I would trust this person with my life), but I could assign second-generation hops (those outside of my control) 80% of the trust value that Dad gives them. Allowing users to tweak their own trust decay rates will let them manage the size of their trust pool and reduce the impact of malicious users (i.e. phishers, for example).
    • I cover this a little bit in calculating path length [getoutfoxed.com]. As tdvaughan said, there's a built-in decay factor. And moreover, it should be said that Outfoxed is just a metadata aggregator: it will dutifully tell you if a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend thinks a plumber is good. But it's entirely up to you if you will trust the recomendation.
  • I just voted Slashdot "Bad". Go ahead, mod me down, but with /.'s lack of any sort of editorial oversight and gross neglect on the part of the staff, this site doesn't deserve anything else. :p
  • I don't *have* any friends, you insensitive clod!
  • Objections (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Orion83 ( 448477 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:53PM (#12864400)
    He answers objections about spamming and "dumb friends" by saying that the network will basically allow someone to be discredited fairly easily. Any sources that gives bad advice will quickly be given a few bad reviews.
    The problem with this is that "goodness" is somewhat subjective. If you ever use amazon, you know that pretty much everything has at least few marks against it. If you want a network to be big enoguh to come up on searches, chances are that you're going to have a wide variety of opinions
  • Hi Slashdot. Cleaning my room [shellfront.org] is the new project my mom assigned me. The mess is based upon food storage and lack of used food disposal [aboyandhiscamera.net], combined with pieces of computer hardware, toys, and my new wide-area storage method for Legos [wellesley.edu]. So far I have to clean it up myself, but I need someone else to do it for me!

    This category is otherwise known as "Ask Slashdot... to do your work."

  • After looking around, the only one of these I'd go for would be Orkut (only I don't know anyone in there and it's invite only). I tried Friendster a short while ago and ended up getting a disturbing amount of mail from them, plus their interface was severely annoying.
    The only one I use is denmark-centric [lunarstorm.dk] (let's see if the site dies ^_^), mostly because it's the only one that's available and makes just a little coherrent sense for danes. Not that there's anything wrong with their gay design, it's just... Idw
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It *must* go hand in hand with privacy. I used to work at a company that made a website personalization product and the engineering code-name for the product was "orwell". It took us a few days before release to remove all references just in case customers would have a negative association with such a term.

    But I did not enjoy working on such a product. It convinced me back then that I don't like the nature of the web, which is fairly centralized relative to the internet itself. For example, I much preferre
  • Why is it that all my friends' links are all about getting a free IPOD or getting 10,000 free icons for my AIM?
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brontus3927 ( 865730 ) <edwardra3@noSpam.gmail.com> on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:11PM (#12864531) Homepage Journal
    Interestingly enough, this Firefox extention is more or less the same premise that someone on K5 thinks would be the perfect base of a p2p file sharing program. But like others, I think the problem is friends don't share the same interests a lot of times, especcially to the same degree. My friends all have the same basic interests: computers, music, movies, and sports. However, for friend 1, the priority is music, movies, sports, computers. Friend 2 is music, sports, movies, computers. My priorities are computers, movies, music, sports.

    I think a hybrid approach between a social network and Amazon recommendations would be ideal. Based on bookmarks and preferences that you post to the server, an algorithm could reccomend other uses with similar tastes. I could then agree or disagree (on a 10 point scale) with the recommendation. That user would then enter my network, and I could browse other users in their network. You would be able to see their rating by other users. Additional ratings would refine the algorithm's ability to find new "friends" You would be notified when someone made you their "friend" so you could check them out and decide whether or not to reciprocate.

    • > Based on bookmarks and preferences that you post to the server, an algorithm could reccomend other uses with similar tastes.

      Not only would that mean massive load for the centralised server, but it would raise privacy issues.
  • Based on all the negative comments about his project, I can tell you guys just don't get it. This is academic. And anybody that has ever had to read academic thesis will know that it's their job to put useless thoughts on paper. Furthermore, it looks like he's doing a great job!
  • Looks like my ISP was overconfident in saying they could handle a slashdotting. I'm moving to a dedicated server, and they say it'll be ready within a half hour. We'll see...
  • by TedTschopp ( 244839 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:18PM (#12864602) Homepage
    You want something else. There are different dynamics where you trust people. For example, no one should trust me with regard to South American history and politics. The reason, I know nothing about those areas. There needs to be a connection between Trust and areas of knowledge.

    For example, I trust my parents, but I would never trust them to make decisions about computers. But if it came to building a building, I'd trust my father a bit more as he is an architect and his field is related to the construction of buildings. But I would never trust my mom regarding that. Now if the issue was the development and educational patterns of children in a bi-lingual situation, I would trust my mom, but I would never trust my father. He isn't a highly trained educator, he is an architect.

    This type of trust network is good, but really is just an extension of the database that AOL has had for their buddy lists on AIM for years.

    What is really needed is a way to rate peoples expertise in areas. If this can be done, a whole new dynamic internet could be formed.

    Just one example of this would be to filter Wiki articles based on the level of expertise that author has in the subject.

    Another example would be to filter all the recommendations you see on amazon. Wow, an English professor at Oxford recommends I read this book about the development of the symbolic languages, perhaps I should pay attention. -OR- Wow, this Policy Wonk who works for this special interest wants me to trust his opinions about the enviroment. Nope!

    So to restate it, we need an Expert Network, on top of our Trust Network. And the trust networks are already in place. Just use any IM network, and apply a trust value to that connection. Now getting the Expert Network established, that's another problem. Perhaps tying a connection between each user and a DMOZ catagory. Or something along those lines.

    Ted Tschopp
    • You're might trust sources in only specific areas. The shot at this, IMHO, is tagging ( which I wrote about here [getoutfoxed.com])

      Outfoxed uses tags to help resolve conflict within the database. If two equally-trusted informers give conflicting reports on a page, tags can be used to break the tie. When a user adds an informer, they can add tags indicating particular areas where this informer is trusted (or not trusted). For example, if your friend Bob is a good car mechanic but with very different political views from y

      • I'm not trying to be a spoil sport with this.

        In general: What you are doing is integrating
        sucessesfull solutions. Focus on new solutions.

        Specifically now, the problem with tagging is that you are drawing a relationship between you and a friend, and it's based on trust/affinity. You trust your friends views of Auto Repair and not on politics. But agreeing/affinity/trust is not the same thing as experience or level of ability. Just becuase you disagree with someone doesn't mean that they are not an expe
    • So, in your system, who do you trust to designate the "expert level" of each individual on each topic? (Not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely curious). It is a cool idea.
  • it says some metadata database wasn't compiled for ppc.
  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:58PM (#12864989) Journal
    Did anyone else read the title as Firefox Extension for Applied Social engineering ?

    The possibilities started flowing through my brain at a rapid pace. I envisioned a 'pretend to be a technician' wizard ('Do you know the name of the contractor which the target company uses for technical support?' 'Do technicians wear overalls to service calls?'), perhaps a research assistant, a disguise toolbar (a la Sims 2), maybe a letterhead forging wizard...

    This story is probably one of the biggest letdowns in the entire term of my Slashdot patronage.
  • I "designed" a similar system, but for e-mail. Not a single f-cker has commented on it yet, but hey, I'm not dead yet.

    I called it Prioritaire.

    http://killingmusic.com/blog/index.php?p=4 [killingmusic.com]
  • So if I trust my buddy, J, to rate business sites as a good deal or not, Outfoxed will also infer that I trust his judgement on whether or not a free software download is free of malware/spyware. Or vice versa. Not that I want a piece of software to do all my reasoning for me, but it severely limits the usefulness of the information. Something like Wikalong is better, where people can actually leave comments rather than just a thumbs up or thumbs down. Of course, Wikalong is thoroughly insecure...
  • Haven't I heard that Gain sued someone for 'alleging' that their software is spyware?

The absent ones are always at fault.