[svlug] upcoming presentation at Google

Paul Cubbage oldestgeek at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 18:31:04 PDT 2007

Thanks Leslie,
I'm sure many svlug folks will want to attend.

On 6/20/07, Leslie Hawthorn <lhawthorn at google.com> wrote:
> Hello SVLUG (Paul :),
> If you feel it is appropriate, please extend this invitation to SVLUG.
> Please ask folks to pass the invitation along to anyone they feel would be
> interested.
> Please join us on Monday, June 25th for the next instance of the Open
> Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series.  Raph Levien, the founder of the
> Advogato website, will discuss "Lesson from Advogato."  There is no cost for
> admission and refreshments will be served.  More logistics information here:
> http://google-code-updates.blogspot.com/2007/06/open-source-developers-google-speaker_15.html
> Talk Abstract:
> Advogato is a community blog for free software developers, founded in 1999
> as a testbed for ideas on attack-resistant trust metrics. The site now has
> 13k registered users, of whom over 3000 are ranked with one of the
> "Apprentice", "Journeyer", or "Master" certifications. Though I neglected
> the maintenance of the site for many years, it has retained an active
> community, and is seeing significant new life since it was handed over to
> the new maintainer, Steven Rainwater.
> By the exponential-growth standards of the dot-com boom, Advogato has been
> only a modest success. Yet, the experience of the site over the years
> contains a number of lessons. First and foremost, attack-resistant trust
> metrics do work. The site succeeds in being remarkably spam-free, as well as
> completely open to the worldwide community of free software developers, and
> achieves these goals without needing a huge amount of manual input to delete
> spammers.
> Thus, the main lesson is that trust metrics do work, but they need to be
> applied with care. Experience with the site teaches the importance of
> choosing and implementing the appropriate trust metric for the assumptions
> at hand. There is widespread "cert inflation," where many users are ranked
> higher than the guidelines would recommend. The trust metrics also did not
> bring a flow of very high quality articles to the front page.
> Another important lesson is that openness and transparency work. The
> workings of the trust metric (including the complete source code) is public.
> Thus, Advogato strongly refutes the prevailing wisdom that secrecy is needed
> for spam protection. This lesson is similar to the ineffectiveness of
> "security through obscurity".
> Lastly, I'll spend some time discussing why Advogato failed to catch fire
> in the public's imagination, despite its qualities. Possible factors include
> lack of promotion, and fact that the trust metrics were never tested against
> real money.
> Speaker Bio:
> Raph Levien has been active in the free software / open source community
> for 13 years, with a range of contributions including email crypto, 2d
> graphics, fonts, various components in the Gnome framework, and, for most of
> the last seven years, Ghostscript. Before then, he built the free software
> community website Advogato as a proving ground for his ideas on trust
> metrics and attack-resistant reputation systems. He has recently joined
> Google as an engineer working on combatting spam and abuse.
> Thank you,
> LH
> --
> Leslie Hawthorn
> Program Manager - Open Source
> Google Inc.
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