Trust Metrics from the 17th Century

Last time I was re-reading Heinlein’s, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I was struct by the possible applications of the rebel’s cell organization to the sorts of trust metric systems being played with these days. Then, a few days ago, I ran across a web log entry noting similarities between mod_virgule’s trust metrics and those used by a 17th century social network of Dove breeders – right down to a trust metric attack – “The Count of Villechy, in 1889, was expelled from the club for posing as two breeders in an attempt to boost his ranking”. The Count’s plot failed because of the hand-calculated trust metrics used by the network. Wow, talk about prior art! It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’ve invented something new when it’s been done many times before. I wonder if anyone has put together a definitive history of trust metrics?

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