Emily Rosamond introduces the article ‘From Reputation Capital to Reputation Warfare: Online Ratings, Trolling, and the Logic of Volatility‘
What are the consequences of the tendency for ubiquitous online reputation calculation to lead not to more precise expressions of reputation capital but, rather, to greater reputational instability? This article contrasts two conceptions of online reputation, which enact opposing attitudes about the relation between reputation and the calculable. According to an early online reputation paradigm – reputation capital – users strove to achieve high scores, performing the presumption that reputation could be incrementally accumulated and consistently measured within relatively stable spheres of value. Yet, ubiquitous calculation led not to more precise measurements of reputation, but rather to the increasing volatility of online reputation. Thus, a second online reputation paradigm – reputation warfare – has become increasingly prevalent, in which strategic actors indirectly capitalize on systemic volatility produced by reputation’s ubiquitous online calculation. Steve Bannon’s 2016 Trump campaign strategy, which mobilized trolls, exemplifies the indirect optimization of online reputation, placing an option on reputational volatility.