Reputation

As with all systems, information environments need to change over time. Who is allowed to make changes to the environment, and at what level, requires knowing the reputation of actors in the system. If you know nothing else about them, having access to a history of their past actions can help you make decisions about how trustworthy they can be. (This is why credit scores exist.)

Wikipedia is an example of an information environment that uses reputation to enable change. The system logs all changes and where they came from, regardless of whether the individuals who made those changes have an account or not. This change log is visible to everyone who uses Wikipedia so users can trace back the history of changes to an article and who made them. “Anonymous” Wikipedia editors only have agency at the level of individual articles. Other actions in the system — such as deleting articles altogether — are not open to everyone, but require some degree of reputation within the environment.

Thus, Wikipedia implements a hierarchy of authority in the system: new users can undertake some low-level actions, while higher-level actions are only available to users who have been vetted by various means, including their history of interactions within the system. This hierarchy requires means to track the reputation of the actors in the system.