We all read so many sites on the web – news sites, blogs, etc – it’s hard to know who to consider as an “Authority” on something.
Imagine a Digg-Like (I keep using “Digg-Like” in posts!) system for rating anyone on anything. Basically you could rate your favorite blogger on any keyword, and rate them as either an idiot, or an Authority. Just like with eBay, eventually the cream would rise to the top, and you could start trusting these metrics.
The same system could work in Newsgroups, Forums, Social Networking sites, etc. Basically it’s the collective voice of people rating the singular voices of people.
An example – imagine there was a defined format, interface, etc (that’s the easy part). You visit my blog and read about, I dunno – say Vista. You could then rank me as either an idiot (of course it would be a nicer term than that) or a few other levels – up to Authority – on Vista.
You get enough people labeling you an “Authority” for a tag (again, say Vista), then Search Engines would naturally push more traffic to you that you are an Authority for. It pushes the majority of traffic to the sites that are most likely to really help them.
Bullshit phishing sites, or domain-sitters would soon see a huge impact based on the fact everyone is ranking them as “idiots”… eventually those sites would fall to page 115,867 out of 115,867 on Google’s search results.
There would and could be multiple Authorities for a given tag. There would and could be multiple people who are Authorities on multiple tags. The goal here isn’t to crown a winner – just to make it easier to determine how valid the community thinks someone is. How much importance their voice has. How much of an Authority they are.
The tag could be extended even more – both beyond the Web, and beyond just Authority. Reputation could be measured in the same way – and both Reputation and Authority could be extended to emails, etc.
Authority and Reputation are both important – we use them every day to help us determine right from wrong and good from bad. We use them when we decide who to buy a car from, or which Doctor to go to. We should have a way to use the same criteria in online relationships.