Reputation systems have become increasingly popular in virtual communities as a way to record and communicate the reputation information of the members. However, different reputation systems use different presentation formats and their effects on decisions in terms of evaluating positive and negative ratings remain unclear. A controlled experiment is proposed using the preference ladder procedure to elicit subjective preferences in three commonly used presentation formats. One format presents the negative and positive ratings side by side; one presents the information as a percentage of total ratings that are positive; the third presents the difference between the positive and negative ratings, the format used by eBay. Results of the preliminary data analysis suggest that people weigh the positive and negative information to different extents in the three formats. Presenting reputation in the difference format tends to make a person weigh the negative information less, making the person more forgivable. The finding is possibly due to the salience of the negative ratings in the various presentations.
Kuan, Kevin; Olson, Judith; and Gonzales, Richard, "Effects of Information Presentation on Perceived Reputation in Virtual Communities: A Controlled Experiment" (2003). ICIS 2003 Proceedings. 91.