Contextual Authority Tagging


Terrell Russell has a good post about the wisdom of crowds and expertise and why they're not the same. Crowds are good at giving opinions, but experts have knowledge.

Folksonomies are about the wisdom of crowds. Great for classification. Terrell things tags can be used to "[discovering] and [defining] cognitive authority through reputation." He's working on something called contextual authority tagging to fill this gap.

Contextual Authority Tagging is the use of folksonomy to discover and define cognitive authority through reputation within communities of users. Authority is granted by individual users to other individual users with regard to their perceived domains of knowledge via free text tags or labels. This allows discovery of at least two things, 1) which users in a group are authority figures on a certain topic area, and 2) what areas of expertise a particular user possesses. A basic proposal is laid out along with a few examples to foster communication and thought on this new distributed way to discover cognitive authority.
From This Old Network » A democracy is for opinion, not for knowledge
Referenced Thu Nov 02 2006 09:19:03 GMT-0700 (MST)

This is one of the problems we punted when we built our reputation framework last spring. It's the problem that really needs to be solved. I was talking to Andre Durand earlier this week about this very thing.

The reason we punted on this problem was time constraints, but we're coming back around to it. The basic idea is that you want to assess someone's reputation about some particular point (e.g. determine whether they're really an expert on the Motorola Q). How do we know if the assessment is valid? Terrell identifies some open problems in determining the validity of the reputation:

  • Is it internally consistent among peers? Does this matter?
  • Is it "good enough", from different perspectives?
  • If it's wrong, what about it is wrong?
  • Is it comfortable to the person being evaluated?
  • Does the person find it agreeable?
  • What terms are missing? Who decides?
  • What if every term has to be 'approved' by the person a priori?

He has a paper (PDF) on the topic which I need to take some time to read.