OTC Rating System

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What is it?

The OTC Rating System is an irc-based web of trust network. Users can give each other ratings between -10 and +10. The system calculates the cumulative trust received by a user from all ratings. You can explore the trust ratings and interconnections between users through the web interface. There's also an SVG rendering of the trust relations available.

How do I use it?

Use command rate to rate a user, unrate to remove your rating, rated to see your current rating for a user.

The gettrust command will show you a user's trust relying only on the ratings of people you trust. If you are not well connected to the web of trust, use another trusted user as the source node. If you don't know anyone, use 'nanotube' and anyone he trusts at 8 or more as a source.

You can get in-channel help on these commands with the help command. E.g. the following will give you help on the 'rate' command:

;;help rate

You must be registered and authenticated with the bot via the GPG authentication process to enter ratings. The user you're rating must also be GPG registered.

Note that only one rating can exist between two people. The 'rate' command updates the existing rating if it is used multiple times. So as your trust in a user increases or decreases, you can update your trust value for this user.

Only people who already have a trust rating in the system can rate other users.

Rating guidelines

Here are some basic guidelines on what ratings to hand out to people.

Rating Guideline
10 You trust this person as you trust yourself. Reserve this for close friends and associates you know in person.
8 Large number of high-value transactions, long period of association, very trustworthy.
5 You've had a number of good transactions with this person.
1 One or two good transactions with this person
-1 Person strikes you as a bit flaky. Unreasonable/unexpected delays in payment, etc.
-10 Person failed to hold up his end of the bargain, took payment and ran, fraudster.

Of course, other considerations like the size of transactions, the nature of your relationship and interaction, length of history, etc., will have an impact. These are just rough guidelines.

Relying on the rating

Make sure that the person you are dealing with is the same person whose rating you're looking at, by using the gpg ident command (more about the GPG authentication system). Explore the trust network and make sure that the person is well connected to a number of trusted users. See what people you trust think about the person, by running the gettrust command.

Do not rely on total rating blindly, since it can be artificially inflated by the user via the creation of fake identities, or deflated via spiteful spam ratings.

Ultimately, unless you personally trust your counterparty, or someone you highly trust trusts your counterparty, take all ratings with a grain of salt. Just because 'joe' may trust 'bob' highly, if you don't know either of them, this has no meaning to you.

In the absence of trust, be sure to follow the fraud avoidance guidelines with a serious disposition.

Notes about gettrust

The gettrust command shows the cumulative trust for a person coming from people that you trust directly, capped by how much you trust them. For example, if you trust userA at 5, and userA trusts userB at 7, your second level trust for userB is 5 (minimum of leg1 and leg2 trust links). These are summed across all second-level links. This is a more reliable metric than the simple cumulative rating. You can also request the second-level trust from the point of view of any other user - useful if you yourself are not well connected in the WoT. Be sure to explore also the graphical representation of the trust links.

The precise way level 2 trust is calculated is as follows:

  • If first leg rating is positive, and second leg rating is also positive, this link gets a score of min(leg1, leg2)
  • If first leg rating is positive, and second leg rating is negative, this link gets a score of -(min(leg1, abs(leg2)) (i.e., negative score, but capped in magnitude by the score of first leg)
  • If first leg rating is negative, the link gets a score of 0

Suppressing public announcement

Gribble commands issued in the #bitcoin-otc channel are relayed to all channel members. For differing reasons, those trading and issuing ratings may wish to not announce publicly their actions on the #bitcoin-otc channel. Gribble commands may be issued in a PM directly with the gribble IRC user bot. Instead of:

;;view

do the following to establish a PM with gribble:

/query gribble view

Command index

Here's an index of commands relating to the OTC rating system. You can get more info about the arguments they take using the 'help' command with the bot.

  • rate: Enter a rating for a user. Note that new ratings replace old ones, only one trust level exists between any two users.
  • unrate: Remove your trust rating for a user.
  • rated: Show your rating for a user.
  • gettrust: Show the cumulative trust for a person coming from people that you trust directly, capped by how much you trust them. For example, if you trust userA at 5, and userA trusts userB at 7, your second level trust for userB is 5 (minimum of l1 and l2 trust links). These are summed across all second-level links. You can also request the second-level trust from the point of view of any other user - useful if you yourself are not well connected in the WoT.

See also