Linden Lab’s goal for most of the community tools they develop these days is to create more „trust“ among residents. While some people might have problem with the (missing) definition of „adult content“ I have eventually problems with the (missing) definition of what Linden Lab means by „trust“.
Trust ist something which is not so easily established and only over some period of time and interaction between two participants. For me trust mainly is created by talking and doing things with people. Thus it’s hard to believe that technical means like age verification might make me trust somebody more then somebody else esp. as every technical system can be more or less easily gamed (or in the case of age verification it might not even work as some residents noted).
What esp. age verification might bring me is more legal protection for my business (my hypothetical business as I am not active in the adult content sector). But regarding this point I really would like to hear some lawyer is this is really the case. But one might be able to arge that if some minor has cheated the system that minor has broken law and not me by selling him unknowingly something not suited for him (or her of course ;-) ). Or maybe you can then sue Linden Lab because that age verification has not worked?
Then there is the other tool regarding financial information. I am not sure I see this as means for building trust as well as of course some griefers have financial information stored as well and I am actually not sure what it brings me to ban people without that information stored (are there numbers how many parcels are actually blocking those people? Are you blocking them? What are your reasons for doing so?). To me the most value is for marketeers as they can filter out those people who have no financial information (and thus probably not money to spend) stored and concentrate on those with money to sell their goods. So it’s also questionable if it’s really a benefit so be able to retrieve it programatically.
So what do you think? Will such tools bring more trust? How do you define trust? What tools do you think are needed? What are the problems anyway? Would something like EBay’s rating system work? If so in which way?
Of course this topic is not only limited to Second Life but also to the internet in general. More and more things will be handled online and then you need to at least trust people in a business sense.