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Differing opinions

A user recently contacted us with a valid concern: what if there are two groups of people with radically different opinions on the trustworthiness of a website? For example, the opponents of a political party will likely disagree with the proponents, or some people might be more liberal in they think is safe for children than others. What happens to reputations then?

Trust is subjective

In WOT, website reputations are computed using an algorithm loosely based on Bayesian probability. Each testimony is weighted by how much the system trusts the user or other source who gave it. If there are two equally trustworthy but opposite opinions, the reputation for the website settles in the middle, and nobody is happy.

The problem in asking users to evaluate trustworthiness is that they tend to trust different things. Also, while it might be possible for a single entity to evaluate websites objectively, not all users base their opinions solely on the facts. Instead, user testimonies are affected by emotions, prejudices, beliefs, values, or even by the lack of information. Because trust is subjective, we developed the concept of personal reputation for WOT.

Personal reputation

Once you have shared your opinion on a fair number of websites, WOT starts looking for other users who agree with you. These users are ranked by how well their testimonies match yours, and the most compatible of the group become your friends. You will never know who they are nor will they know you, but when WOT computes the reputations to show on your extension, their testimonies weigh more than those from other users. This makes it possible for WOT to better adapt to what you personally trust, while still not ignoring the overall opinion.

Your group of friends is continuously evaluated and should their opinions start to differ from yours too much, they are discarded and new friends are found to replace them. All of this happens completely automatically without the user ever noticing any difference. However, we do have plans to let you include the people you know in your group of friends in future.

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