Reputation is a very useful tool in solving a lot of online problems. They allow anonymous/psuedononymous users to be held accountable for their actions. Reputation servers and trust metrics* allow one to easily filter out the drek in the world, and focus on those with trusted and reputable identities.

There's a great paper on accountability from O'Reilly*'s P2P* book, co-authored by Roger Dingledine*.

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