W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > July 2021

RE: Digital Press Passes and Decentralized Public Key Infrastructures

From: <steve.e.magennis@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 18:24:00 -0700
To: "'Alan Karp'" <alanhkarp@gmail.com>, "'Bob Wyman'" <bob@wyman.us>
Cc: "'Annette Greiner'" <amgreiner@lbl.gov>, <public-credibility@w3.org>, <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <0b9101d77f61$6ae8dcc0$40ba9640$@gmail.com>
+1

 

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that from a technology perspective all we can really do is surface information to help verifiers (and to a lesser extent holders) come to their own conclusion about trusting issuers. I also believe that surfacing copious information is not necessarily better. If I fabricate shower curtain rings, I pretty much already know who the main suppliers of plastic stock are and they don’t change that often. Maybe 5% of the time I will come across someone new. I concede there are use cases where issuers and verifiers are so dynamic that it is always just a mosh pit of untrusted interactions. If this is the core use case being sought (e.g. social media, blogging, etc.) , then I will happily get on board and be very eager to see where that takes us, but I think that use case comes with unique characteristics that should be seen as disproportionately important to it.

 

The second point I’ll make is that you can’t throw a proverbial rock in any direction and not hit an organization who’s primary business model is maintain a list of ‘who can be trusted to do X.’ Industry groups, ISO certification, educational certifications, accounting, health and food safety. Standards, memberships, audits, legal recourse. I honestly don’t know much about the publishing industry and what industry groups attempt to set and uphold journalistic standards, or how effective they are especially today when the industry is trying to transform itself while undergoing pretty significant decentralization and shift in incentives and revenue. Maybe the trust ecosystem in journalism writ large is just overwhelmed by the rush that came from lowering the barrier to publish so much. Looking forward to following this.

 

</soap boxing complete>

-S

 

From: Alan Karp <alanhkarp@gmail.com> 
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:56 PM
To: Bob Wyman <bob@wyman.us>
Cc: Annette Greiner <amgreiner@lbl.gov>; public-credibility@w3.org; public-credentials@w3.org
Subject: Re: Digital Press Passes and Decentralized Public Key Infrastructures

 

Trust is contextual.  I trust my bank with my money but not my children.  I trust my sister with my children but not my money.



--------------
Alan Karp

 

 

On Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM Bob Wyman <bob@wyman.us <mailto:bob@wyman.us> > wrote:

Annette,

You wrote: "A list of who’s trusted and who isn’t would need to include who is trusted _in_what_context_."

This reminded me of a recent discussion on StackExchange of "How is it possible that [insert known crackpot] has articles published in Peer-Reviewed Journals? <https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/170795/how-is-it-possible-that-insert-known-crackpot-has-articles-published-in-peer-r> "

Of course, the response provided by many was that we shouldn't be surprised when someone is an expert in one context but a complete crackpot in others. (A classic example might be Hollywood actors who are often asked to expound on world affairs... Who imagines that that might be useful?) 

 

The reality is that we can't ever say with confidence that "X is credible," rather, the best we could ever say is that "When X speaks about Y, X should probably be considered credible" and even then, we'd need to be careful to specify the time period during which we should ascribe credibility. As Buffy <https://academia.stackexchange.com/users/75368/buffy>  commented on StackExchange: "someone who has done important work early on [in their career] can become a crank later in life." And, we should consider the "stopped clock" syndrome mentioned by Graham <https://academia.stackexchange.com/users/43789/graham> : Some statements may have been very credible at the moment that they were made even though later evidence or paradigm shifts made them less credible. (Should one be considered "credible" if what they said was once credible but now is no longer credible?)

 

bob wyman

 

On Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 3:49 PM Annette Greiner <amgreiner@lbl.gov <mailto:amgreiner@lbl.gov> > wrote:

One important angle on this question is the context of a statement. A list of who’s trusted and who isn’t would need to include who is trusted _in_what_context_. For example, a physician who specializes in dermatology cannot prima facia be taken as an authority on heart transplants, nor vice versa. Part of the misinformation landscape we’ve seen of late is characterized by people getting credit for roles in which they have no expertise because they have credit in some other high-profile role. It would be a serious error on our part to develop a mechanism of people generating lists of those who they consider trustworthy without reference to context.

-Annette





On Jul 21, 2021, at 9:21 PM, Bob Wyman <bob@wyman.us <mailto:bob@wyman.us> > wrote:

 

The best answer to the question "Who decides who is in and who is out?" is probably "Who cares? Do whatever feels good." The important thing in building a curated list is to simply build it.

 
Received on Friday, 23 July 2021 01:24:18 UTC

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