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Algorithm advice? - Journal of Omnifarious

May. 29th, 2008

06:53 pm - Algorithm advice?

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I think I would like an algorithm similar to Advogato's trust metric for deciding what people's names should be by default.

But, let me state the problem...

I'm designing a system in which people use OpenID to authenticate eachother on a series of small websites. I also want people to be able to talk about eachother in a linkable way, like they do on LJ.

The problem with using OpenID for this is that an OpenID is a fairly long and somewhat cumbersome identifier. I think most people have nicknames they would like to use to call others. In fact, many people become known by a well known nickname. For example, there are many people in the world who know me as omnifarious and possibly even think of me that way instead of my actual name of Eric Hopper.

I would like a distributed way to allow a group of people to agree about nicknames. If someone new comments on your site, it might be nice if they immediately acquired a nickname that was short and was well known by other people who commented on your site.

One thought is to have people make computer-readable statements associating an OpenID with a nickname and publishing them on their sites. Then you could periodically gather this data from various sites and run an algorithm like Advogato's trust metric algorithm to come up with default nicknames for people who are still two or three degrees away from you on your social graph.

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