I was reading something (can’t remember where) about why people write open-source code. It used the word “reputationism” (as opposed to capitalism) as the motivating force. I think there’s something to that. The author mentioned Advogato’s trust metric as an example of how trust and reputation can be automatically tracked in large communities. If this kind of thing works, it really does make new social structures and kinds of work possible. This is related to Francis Fukuyama’s concept of social capital.