My present understanding of the WoT, part 1

Filed under: Philosophia, Politikos — Jacob Welsh @ 23:41

The Web of Trust (WoT) as conceived by Mircea Popescu is a set of concepts and practices for publishing and finding information pertinent to making trust decisions about people, or more generally, finding sources of such information for further exploration. "The WoT" can also refer to the mathematical, technological and human machinery implementing the concept in a given context.(i) Unlike the commonplace wishful-thinking based attempts at "reputation systems", it is understood not to provide mechanical answers to questions such as "is X trustworthy" (even when properly qualified as "for Y purpose"); trust exists in the people rather than in the tools, but the tools provide the structure for making one's own judgements.

The WoT is represented as a graph, with nodes being the public keys of the participants, corresponding to private keys generated by the individuals themselves; exclusive control of a private key is one's sole claim to identity in the WoT world. The edges of the graph represent the trust ratings between individuals, inbound and outbound, and consist of a sign (overall positive or negative trust), a number reflecting the rater's degree of certainty that the assessment will not change, and optional comment.

~ To be continued(ii) ~

  1. Presently: identity provided by the RSA cryptosystem as implemented in GPG, and a ratings database available through deedbot. [^]
  2. The installment style lately was assigned as an exercise in improving my abysmal writing speed by publishing whatever I can get out in one hour, with 300-word minimum target, spreading the pressure across smaller segments rather than allowing it be deferred. [^]


  1. For your love of depths, you might want to notice also that the WoT effectively works as a punishment gazette.

    On a different note: don't get the scares from other people's mistakes! And more generally, don't pay them that much attention to start with. What, you are running out of your own mistakes, that you need somebody else's too?

    Comment by Diana Coman — 2019-11-11 @ 12:34

  2. [...] Continued from part 1 [...]

    Pingback by My present understanding of the WoT, part 2 « Fixpoint — 2019-11-12 @ 09:00

  3. Catching up on my comments now - that reference had indeed made it into part 2! If not in much detail. And nope, I've got enough mistakes of my very own, lol.

    Comment by Jacob Welsh — 2019-11-12 @ 09:13

  4. [...] should have piped up and asked about this at the time; though I was still a WoT non-entity living in the shadows, it happens that blog comments are one of the easier ways to get [...]

    Pingback by keksum, a Keccak implementation in C as standalone Unix utility: genesis « Fixpoint — 2019-12-13 @ 05:39

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