So I am just sitting here at Robin’s office hours with some people but not Robin but Catherine instead and the topic search came up. The basic question is how to find cool places/stuff/etc. without a system that can be gamed like the traffic system we have right now.
So I came up with the following rough idea based on how sites like Amazon etc. do it which is in turn (maybe) based on some papers from the Media Lab which I once read and which have been mostly about social agent (one of the example applications was indeed a website which lets you find new cool websites depending on your previous choice and other people with similar choices. Something like StumbleUpon/last.fm/pandora if you want).
So if we project such a system onto Second Life it might work as follows. If we assume that people either spend time and places they like or buy something there we might associate these places with those avatars. If we now apply the same mechanisms as Amazon does it should be possible to find other cool places I haven’t seen yet depending on my “neighbourhood”. My “Neighbourhood” is computed by the similarity of places I like and others like.
Of course there need to be exceptions as I tend to spend quite a bit at workplaces or just my own place but these could eventually be flagged. The other question is if the flagging of places I like should be automatic or manual but this maybe needs to be experimented with. Automatic might be nicer and more easy, the question might only be whether such a thing works or not.