Freecycling

Fighting for freerecyling

Reputation, trust and integrity

Several people have called some of the assertions on this blog into question. Right now there is a thread going on in IntlFCMS where someone is questioning a thread called THE FACTS into question. (Not my thread, but a very important one, imho.) The question I wish to discuss now is about reputation, trust and integrity. How can you trust someone – it is because they have a reputation, hopefully a reputation for honesty and hopefully a reputation for integrity.

These are more important than evidence. Evidence can be cooked, misinterpreted, used both for any against an assertion. For example a screen snapshot can always be modified by a half-decent image editor. Also a log file may be simply edited. Evidence can become more acceptable when multiple examples come from either separate sources, especially when these are independently managed.  For example, I asserted that the TFN trademarking team was not doing its full job and can back this up with ample evidence from their own website, something which is outside my control.

If you have not thought about the issue of reputation then I strongly recommend that you do some research right now. Wikipedia is a good starting point with many references. Microsoft had a very poor reputation for the security of their flagship operating systems. Then Bill Gates made a formal announcement to every single employe via an email entitled, “Trustworthy Computing”. The flavour of this was that he would dedicate a portion of his workforce to iron out many of the security issues in the Microsoft operating systems. Trust Bill Gates or not, trust Microsoft or not, the evidence is clearly in that their Windows operating system is infinitely more secure than it ever was with a continual flood of security updates stemming from that email.

Many a religious person may assert, “In God we trust”. In the Christian faith this demonstrates how important as a society we place in the concept of trust. I am sure that each faith would have similar positioning statements.

Trust and reputation are something that are built up slowly over time. It is something that is built on saying something and then doing it. We are all frail and so we all drop back in trustfulness and reputation during our lifetime. But hopefully for everyone it is an onward and upward struggle.

Trust and reputation are both destroyed quickly when integrity is called into question. Especially this is true is the sources calling these into question also come from a reputable source. It is unfortunately true that if however someone questioning integrity is an poster who is hiding behind a cloak an anonymous email address then it is easy for them to “rubbish” people, but we should not give them any credibility unless they start backing their assertions up.

As they say, “putting their money where their mouth is.”

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September 12, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle

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