Richard Bartle recently posted a first go at a reputation system over on his blog.
Some people are prats. Some of these prats play virtual worlds. Non-prats would prefer not to play with them, but have no way of identifying them; this is because whenever systems are implemented to identify the prats, the prats use them to make non-prats seem like they’re the prats.
In other words, there isn’t a reputation system yet invented that griefers can’t use as an instrument of griefing.
His proposed solution, basically, is a shared friends/reputation list that works similarly to “You might also like…” systems on some music sites. If you like the same sort of folks that Mary likes, maybe you’ll like the folks Mary likes that you haven’t met yet. That sort of thing.
About the only thing I’d add to it is the ability to actually denote “I like this person and would like to add their stored reputation marks to my list” somehow. This is solely to get new players seeded into the mix; since they’re the ones who most need a ‘this guy is a jerk’ marks, and yet won’t actually have any opinions yet to share. There’s also some minor anti-gaming (gaming of the system, not gaming in general) things that can be done, but overall it just seems like a fairly standard database problem.
So, you can’t tear it apart there, but since I think it’s generally a good idea, tear it apart here! As an added benefit, Dr. Bartle will probably see your comments here and mark me down on his personal reputation system. Bonus for all!