Ten for trust

Following on from my last blog post, I am responding to connect.me’s call to blog about those I trust.

One aspect I think that could do with some improvement in the way connect.me handles vouches, is the lack of evidence associated with each vouch. I hope I am trusted that when I vouch for someone in ‘photography’ it truly means I respect and value their photographic skills, but beyond that how do you judge that relationship? I would like the ability for each vouch to have an optional description field which is not shown by default, but that can be displayed as and when needed. This might serve a little like ebay feedback (which is another form of reputational currency).

Until there is such an option, I find this idea of blogging about who and why I have trust vouched an ideal way to explain my choices.


Richard Bellingham – My first and greatest friend from University (undergraduate years). I have known Richard for many years and he is a thorough geek. I credit long nights of conversation with me for his rationalist and atheist views – though it may be fairer to note that questioning everything and re-evaluating one’s views is a natural consequence for an intelligent person leaving home and going to University. I have read some of what he was written, though as a writer some of his favoured genres (that’s something you’ll have to ask him about) don’t always appeal to me. For many years I have role-played under him as a games master, and have enjoyed myself thoroughly. He has his own style of running games, perhaps expecting too much player-led activity for the likes of some, but is far less rail-roading than others. We both studied Biosciences together, and then we both went different ways to do Masters degrees in Computing. With programming being a fond love for both of us I would much have preferred our University days to have been swapped – though I have fond memories of his early forays as a multi-threaded java programmer mixing up .run() and .start() methods.

Rhodri Broadbent (not yet signed up) – My greatest friend from my University (postgraduate years). I remember many afternoons and evenings spent at his house playing games on his Nintendo gamecube. More fondly still I remember the summer where I had my mum’s house to myself, and Rhod stayed over so we could both work intensively on our dissertation programming projects. Days and days spent programming in separate rooms, only to go through to pester the other while musing aloud on whatever the current bug was. Evenings playing Counterstrike and watching Invader Zim may have been the only things to keep us sane. Rhod’s project was a 3D game of a bird flying down an obstacle course shooting at things. Since then he has moved to Japan, working as a real games developer, and now is back in the UK with his own games company DakkoDakko.


Steve Bailey – I have worked (Uni of Kent) with Steve for several years and regard him as my friend. However I’m including him here under professional rather than social as my vouches for him are more professionally oriented. Steve and I worked closely together in learning technology. The majority of our work revolved around the open source VLE/LMS Moodle – but Steve’s interests and skills go beyond this and include lecture recording, education generally, and explain why he is an excellent educational technologist.

Mick Norman – Mick is another one of my former Unikent learning technology colleagues. I worked with him for almost as long as I have worked with Steve. I regard Mick as an expert in the use of Moodle and a wide range of other educational technologies. Mick is an avid musician and participates in orchestras and bands – though where he finds the time, I do not know! He is also a keen photographer and I am hoping to pick up some tips from him soon, perhaps over beer.

Daniel Clark – Dan is the final former Unikent colleague to make it to this list. At the time of this post the three of them are still colleagues at Unikent and I miss being their colleague nearly daily. Dan has a background in music technology, works in educational technology, as well as having broader qualifications in education. Dan is another avid photographer and musician – which is quite good as I know that in a hostage situation if I ever have to choose between Dan and Mick I can guarantee I’ll be able to keep a musical photographic former-colleague/friend. It is good to have spares!


Loz Kaye (not yet signed up) – As the current Leader of the Pirate Party UK Loz is an inspiration to me with how he can find the time to be in so many different places doing so many different things. He is far from a career politician, he is one of those rare people that sees something he disagrees with and instead of sitting back grumbling about it, he takes a stand. Following him on twitter is sometimes a whirlwind-like experience as he discussed pirate politics, music composition, and various things in foreign languages I can barely comprehend. I know the PPUK is better for his involvement, and I am proud to vouch my trust in him.

Andy Halsall – Andy is another person that I am fortunate to have met through our mutual involvement in pirate politics. He is a dedicated activist who is currently the Campaigns Manager of the Pirate Party UK. I am impressed with how much he can get done, and how well he sometimes manages to delegate. I live in fear of his phone calls and emails asking me to do things … well perhaps not fear, but he’s just so difficult to say no to!

Harley Faggetter – Harley is the third member (in a row!) of the PPUK National Executive Committee to make it to this list. Out of all ten listed I’ve known Harley the least amount of time, yet it has been enough to know he is dedicated to pirate politics. I have spent many an evening in Parliament attending a debate sitting alongside Harley, whispering comments and opinions back and forth or comparing tweets.

Jack Allnutt (not yet signed up) – Jack and I have both held similar roles within PPUK. We were both elected into positions of Regional Administrative Officer and onto the Board of Governors at the same times as each other. I have got to know Jack well while working with him and know he is enthusiastic about pirate politics and making a difference.

Will Tovey (not yet signed up) – Will is one of my colleagues on the PPUK Board of Governors. He impresses me regularly not just with his interest in pirate politics but also with how ready he is to dig into boring, verbose, dense legal matters to summarise and make sense. Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising as he is a law student, yet it is incredibly helpful. I don’t know exactly how high his reading stack is, but I get the impression that things get added to it faster than they are taken away. That Will keeps on going is a testament to his willpower.


Reputation Networks

I have recently joined connect.me, a new reputation network.

I have been asked why, with all the other social network sites available, did I join (and pester friends/colleagues to join) this one.

Firstly a reputation network is NOT a social network, well, not exactly. A dedicated reputation network would seek not to compete with other social networks, but instead provide a mechanism by which one proves one’s credibility. That proof can then be used in other places (social networks being one example) to support and evidence your reputation.

For example, if you were on a reputation network and had many vouches that you were eminent in the field of network security, you then might post a blog article about network security. Your readers may want to know if you’re talking nonsense or not and can check to see what your reputation is by following a link to your connect.me profile. What’s more they should be able to see who vouched for you, and determine for themselves how reliable those vouches were. If a bunch of other network security people had vouched for you, your readers could trust your blog article more than if you only had vouches from your luddite grandmother.

Why *this* one? Why not? If it fails to work, I can delete my account. If it ends up being successful, then I’ll make use of it. However such systems only work when they are used. If no-one that knows me is on there, my reputation can not be accurately judged by those that don’t know me. Hence I encourage to join those that know me in particular fields of my interest.

When you considers online services such as this the immediate concern is privacy, what they do with your data and how they respect your rights to privacy. This site has won an award for their personal data privacy policies. What this means further down the line, any site can change policies, is debatable. Therefore it is important to keep telling them how we value their current stance to ensure they stick with it.