Reputation as virtual property

Kyle sez, "Yale Law Journal is running a symposium on law and the virtual world, and one of the articles they've recently published is in exerpt form at their online space. There's an extended discussion of reputation as a form of property online, reminiscent of whuffie."

I don't know that I'd call this "extended" -- more like an introduction to the topic with more questions raised than answered. But it's interesting stuff, nevertheless.

Anonymous blogging and commentary, on the other hand, correspond to the virtual world economies describe above. The reputational property this type of activity generates exists only online, associated with virtual identities that generally are not connected to any real-world identities. What enables this division from the real-world reputational economy is anonymity, which permits bloggers–or even blog commenters–to gain online status, often at the expense of others, without risking their own real-world status. And as with the online and virtual world economies, challenging problems arise when the two reputational economies meet, as happens when anonymous posters (members of the virtual-world-style reputational economy) attack nonanonymous online profiles (members of the online reputational economy). From a practical standpoint, it is difficult, though not impossible, to identify anonymous online attackers, making redress rare. But from a more theoretical standpoint, it is difficult to replace, with currency or any other kind of “old” property, the reputational property they have lost.
Reputation as Property in Virtual Economies by Joseph Blocher (Thanks, Kyle!)