There's a hole in GlobeAlive. It's in the rating system and needs a patch. The ratings are too easily gamed, so our search results aren't valid. We've mulled over several solutions. Kaolin, in an email to me, as well as a detailed analysis on LiveJournal, suggested that only members be allowed to rate experts. At the conference, Peter Jones of SoundRatings.com (temporarily down, so link might not go through yet), strongly suggested employing a p2p "web of trust" reputation system. Many others supported the web of trust solution, including Lee Doolan of Affero.
But Kaolin and I were making a distinction between member users and member experts. This might be a necessary distinction, but then again it might not. Presumably, most member users want to be found in some capacity, just as they want to be able to find other people. So as part of the member sign-up process, not only could they choose how they will find people in the GlobeAlive database, but how they themselves want to be found-- by what keywords, etc. If indeed we can eliminate the distinction, at least upon sign up, than the web of trust may be more complete, given that the member users get to participate. Furthermore, the member could also choose not to be on the listings. Just got an email from Kaolin. He thinks it may be more trouble than it's worth. So I'll continue to search for a solution. Suggestions welcome.