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= factor influencing Online Reputation


How the level of acquaintanceship impacts the evaluation of reputation

Olivier Zara:

" the relevance of an evaluation by scoring is inversely proportional to how much the evaluator and the person being evaluated know about each other.

In other words, the more we know people, the less relevant an evaluation by scoring becomes because the relationship between the evaluator and the person being evaluated carries “more weight.” More weight in terms of sub-text and shared history of ups and downs. This means that friendship, love and the return of favors will push any score higher (oftentimes way above what it should be). Conversely, settling of scores and grudges will push any score lower (oftentimes way below what it should be).

I. How the level of acquaintanceship impacts the evaluation of reputation

Here are the 5 levels of acquaintanceship:

  • Level 1: We don’t know each other (strangers).
  • Level 2: I know of him/her but he/she doesn’t know me (name recognition).
  • Level 3: Our paths have crossed (acquaintances – enough interactions to gather a first impression).
  • Level 4: Close relationship (friends, colleagues – regular, long-term interactions several times a month for at least a couple of years).
  • Level 5: Very close relationship (family, very close friends – daily, very long-term interaction).

The evaluation by scoring is relevant for levels 1 through 3: weak or non-existent level of acquaintanceship. At these levels, the evaluator will judge the facts: “He delivered what I ordered in the agreed-upon timeframe,” “I’ve been paid,”…

At levels 4 and 5, the history of the relationship will start to weigh on the mind of the evaluator. Subjectivity (opinions, value judgments) will start to supersede objectivity (observable and quantifiable facts). At these levels, the chance of over-valuing (“he’s the best”) or under-valuing (“he’s lousy”) the other person becomes more likely." (


"On eBay, the level of acquaintanceship between users hovers somewhere between 1 and 2. In addition, it’s not possible to evaluate a person in the absence of a transaction. In fact, it’s the transaction that’s evaluated, not the person. Thus, a new evaluation is required for each new transaction between the same people. Indeed, it’s quite possible for a seller to perform efficiently during one transaction and fall short on another.

Conversely, on the new services such as iKarma, you’ll see that most evaluators share a level 4 acquaintanceship with the person evaluated, a fact which can be ascertained by visiting user profiles. While your best friends and colleagues may visit your profile, so may your worst enemies. Since no particular transaction is required, it’s up to each party to decide which criteria to use to evaluate the other. You may be evaluated on the basis of one act or several, one single day or several years, one transaction or a mix of several kinds of actions (transaction, relationship and content publishing).

On eBay, the relationship’s context is crystal clear. You’re either a buyer or a seller! On other services, however, there often lacks a field to specify the relationship’s context. Some users provide this information of their own accord in their feedback and some don’t. This context is helpful in determining the potential for over- or under- valuation." (

More Information

  1. Reputation