"Advogato is the latest step forward in the evolution of online
open-source community. ... Advogato was built by Raph Levien, a
UC-Berkeley computer scientist, as part of his Ph.D. research into
the gnarly problem of creating "webs of trust."
"Advogato is an experiment in the alternative, peer-to-peer
model, heavily inspired by Phil Zimmerman's Pretty Good Privacy
site. "I found that the traditional trust metric framework was
pretty limited, but discovered a new technique, which I call a
group trust metric," Levien explains. "Basically, you put in a
bunch of certificates of the form 'I, person A, vouch for the fact
that person B is a member of this group,' and the trust metric
tells you who it thinks is really in the group."
"In other words, to qualify as a master on Advogato requires
that the community of your peers agree that you're a hotshot. ...
What's revolutionary about Advogato's model is that like the
Net itself -- and unlike VeriSign's top-down bureaucracy -- it's
self-organizing, self-repairing and therefore hard to corrupt or
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