Reputation for Subjectivity

There is a reputation discussion all over the blogsphere. The question is simple: What attributes should be influenced by reputation and what should not?

The answer is simple as well: The question just does not make sense. I will try to explain that, but it needs a bit of philosophical background.

Information is subjective. If I say I'm dependable, what I'm really doing is expressing my opinion about my dependability. When my customers say that I'm dependable, they are expressing their opinion about me. When my dear competition say it's not all that good about me, they are expressing their opinion. It is quite obvious that some abstract concept such as dependability cannot be objectively measured. And therefore it should be somehow (read: magically) determined by combining several values from several sources. That mechanism is now part of the "reputation" buzzword.

But what happens if I say I'm 195cm tall? My height is an objective fact. That should be somehow different from the abstract concept of dependability, shouldn't it? No, it shouldn't. If I say I'm 195cm tall I'm expressing my opinion about my height. How can you make sure that information is true? You can send someone here to measure my height, and he will get the same number. But if he publishes that on the Internet, it's just his opinion on my height. Both of us can lie and I may in fact be only 150cm tall. Or we can both use broken tape measure. Who knows? Who can be sure?

Any information is only as good as is the source it comes from. It does not matter if it is information about dependability or height. There may be objective facts, but information is always subjective. Even if it tells about objective facts.

Therefore all that havoc about reputation just doesn't make sense. The question is not "What attributes should be influenced by reputation?" The question is "How we are going to determine trustworthiness of any information?" Whether it is dependability or height, the mechanism should be the same.