RepBot is a non-playing bot on FIBS which records and shows information about players. Its main features are reporting the number of saved games any player has and that person's 'reputation' as voted by others.
No one claims RepBot to be fully accurate, however most players find it a useful indicator of who to play and who to avoid.
The easiest way to see what it does is to ask it: tell RepBot help.
3dFiBs: Arriving invites automatically provide the reputation metric. To see this for others, click on the player then select "ask RepBot" from the "Playerlist". Use your "Chat" window for giving RepBot any of the other commands given below.
BBGT: Open a chat window by selecting "Lurking" in the radio button row on top of the players list to see the non-ready players, click RepBot and hit the "Chat" button, type help or any command given below. Or just type, e.g. tell repbot help, into the command line and for subsequent communications you can replace tell repbot by a single dot, for example . ask [user], if you haven't spoken to anyone else in between.
JavaFIBS: Select "Tell" from the pop up list in the bottom left corner. Type RepBot into the adjacent field, then in the field after that type help or any command given below. Or right-click RepBot in the player list (or the friends list) and select "Chat with". The programmable buttons feature can be used with the command tell repbot ask %Player.
MacFIBS: Drag RepBot from the Players window into the Game Chat window, then type help or any command given below.
ParlorPlay: When receiving an invite the reputation is automatically included in the pop-up window. And you can directly send commands to RepBot by clicking on its name in the player window to open a chat box.
RealFibs: When receiving an invite the reputation and saved games columns automatically update in the "Inviting Users" window. You can also right-click on a player in the main user list and select "Get Reputation". To use other repbot commands like list [player] use the private chat window, select "tell repbot" from the drop-down list, and type in your repbot command.
Commands that RepBot currently receives:
Note: you can only complain or vouch about another user once, i.e. everyone gets just a single "vote".
SQL archives are maintained on the development site.
How do I choose who to vouch for and who to complain about?
It's recommended you vouch for anyone you've played and would be happy to play again, and complain against anyone you personally have grounds for avoiding.
What does the * next to someone's name mean?
When using the 'list [user]' feature a * will appear next to the name of anyone who has a saved game with this user. This helps distinguish between saved games between friends and as a result of a dropper.
Why do I have more saved games shown than there really are?
RepBot gathers its data from www.fibs.com/savedgames which includes games completed in the past 24 hours. RepBot actually intersects yesterday's data and the data from the day before, this is more accurate but still miscounts some matches either saved recently or resumed in the past 48 hours.
Why has this person complained about me?
No idea, ask them. Otherwise ignore it. The majority of Fibsters use RepBot responsibly, but there are always a few wind up merchants and manipulators...hence the unfortunate need for RepBot.
How can I remove a complaint?
You can 'withdraw' your own complaints, but no one except the complainers themselves can change ones against you. Perhaps they complained because of a misunderstanding, you can always try to ask them. Otherwise just ignore it.
Where does the number, such as 8262(GOOD), come from?
The reputation metric of a user is the sum total of the experience of vouchers for that user minus the sum total of the experience of complainers against that user. If the number is positive then it's followed by (GOOD) and if it's negative then it's followed by (BAD).
Why do I have a bad reputation when I've never dropped a match?
If there's only been a few votes then you may just be unlucky. Once a player has had many votes cast then their reputation tends to be fairly accurate. But it's never guaranteed, RepBot's reputation metric is just a reflection of opinions.
Why bother with RepBot since complaints might be unfounded?
Everyone gets their vote and most use it sensibly. It's not a perfect system, but it mostly works.
Are there lists given out of the worst and best reputations?
No, because RepBot is meant just as an indicator of who to play or not play. It's not meant as a general popularity contest.
Do complaints or vouches ever expire?
If a username expires from FIBS then all of their votes get deleted afterwards, though sometimes this takes up to six weeks.
Open online communities such as FIBS suffer from the disadvantage of having no face-to-face contact. Users are effectively anonymous, which frees them to act in whatever way they wish. While the vast majority of Fibsters are honorable and friendly, there are also some bad eggs such as:
Note: don't forget to vouch for those you're happy to play, RepBot has positive uses too!
Human administrators are limited in their ability to deal with many issues on FIBS. It is effetively left to run itself. Many have tried to find ways to change FIBS over the years, with no success. We are left to manage ourselves, which is possible to a large extent. In particular, the dropper problem has been discussed with great frequency throughout the history of FIBS on the newsgroup rec.games.backammon. Follow this link to perform a search on google and you will see for yourself!
One way to share your experience with others, is to shout about it. This often results in an ugly flame war, which is no fun. It also has the disadvantage of only reaching people that are logged in at that time and haven't toggled shouting off. Often the complaint is not news to several people who do hear you. It would have been nice to have their experiences known to you *before* you played the match!
Another way to share your experience with others, and to take advantage of the experience of others, would be to store this knowledge on a server. One way to do this without having to change FIBS itself, is to have a server that logs into FIBS as a user, and have it accept chat messages from human users. RepBot is such a program. It currently does not run on the FIBS server, nor does it need to. It does not depend on human intervention, which is a huge advantage.
The knowledge RepBot stores is centered around, but not limited to, a reputation metric that is based on the experience of users that input information. The information users can input is in the form of complaints or vouches about other players. If you register a complaint about someone, their reputation goes down by some amount. If you vouch for them, it goes up. The amount of change depends on your experience, the theory being that the more experience you have on FIBS, the better you are at evaluating other people. Users with more time invested in FIBS should have more to say about other users than newbies who may not stick around very long. This is mitigated in two ways: first, there is a minimum experience level (200) required that prevents people from iteratively creating new usernames on fibs and complaining. While the experience would be low and thus not effect the numeric reputation, the list of complainers would grow large. Second, there is a ceiling (10,000) beyond which further experience has no effect.
FIBS is not alone in it's struggle. Similar problems have shown up in other online communities, and a proven strategy has emerged. On eBay and similar shopping sites, buyers are given a chance to provide feedback about sellers. On Slashdot and similar discussion sites, readers can rate postings and thus effect their visibility to others. There is a great deal of academic research in this area. For further reading on the subject, see:
"A reputation system gives people information about others' past performance. It can enhance an on-line interaction environment by:
"This site is for researchers who are studying how reputation systems should work in theory, how they actually work in practice, and how they could work better."
"Our mission in the Social Computing Group is to research and develop software that contributes to compelling and effective social interactions, with a focus on user-centered design processes and rapid prototyping.
"Our work includes user interface design, sharing, mobile applications, trust and reputation, collaboration, and story telling. To facilitate the rapid prototyping, we also have an online lab for running studies to evaluate our social user interfaces."
Post on the RepBot forum within the FIBS Board.
If you like RepBot, or at least the general concept of it, please take the time to send feedback. Please also vouch for it, it's creator and it's maintainer, as they take an inordinate amount of abuse from the FIBS anarchy. Yes, even RepBot has a reputation. We want to hear from you.
Constructive criticism is appreciated too.