"There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced."
There is too much information available so we have to rely on others to filter it for us, yet we complain vociferously when social networks do just that, don't we?
There's a massive difference.
When I wrote "The 3 R's of Influence" almost six years ago reputation was one of those linchpins (along with reach and relevance) but it was also underlined by trust.
We have to be able to trust the reputation of those filtering our data. We can attempt to prove the reliability of individual sources, make a judgement of how much faith we place in them, but how could we possibly establish the reputation of an algorithm that pulls data from myriad sources all with their own degrees of trustworthiness or otherwise.
The problem, however, is that it's hard work to assess these sources, establish their pedigree, and trace their information flows. To do so properly would leave many with only a few sources at most; this narrow view - no matter how reliable - could be just as damaging.
So we resort to pseudo-reputation guided by sentiment and confirmation bias, believe those who shout loudest and amass the most disciples.
Truth by consensus.
These same sentiments and biases (or rather those of developers) fuel any attempts to automate the process leaving us at their whim, but we need to find a compromise whereby the task of establishing reputation is not too onerous, retains much of its veracity, and is available to all.