I received some questions from Shannon Clark regarding some of the Xpertweb Issues.

When you refer to “Xpertweb transaction protocols” what is this? (yes, this is a “simple” question.) Is there a specific source for this protocol to look at?

A series of sample forms may be seen starting at

The “Xpertweb Protocols” provide transaction forms for use by non-tech people to record a transaction’s history on the web, using their own web site as a peer to other participants’ web sites.

To that end, each participant is set up with their site, by which they manage forms for buying (receiving a benefit) and selling (imparting a benefit). Most importantly, each transaction is graded by the participants. When the task is done, a completion report/invoice is generated by the seller’s script, REQUIRING a grade (01-99%) from the buyer, plus a written comment. Money is not required, but If the task specifies a payment, the buyer is required to transmit funds to the seller immediately, in an amount which may be discounted by the buyer’s grade. A grade of 85-100% generates a full price transaction. A 50-85% grade pays 50-85% of the contract price. A grade below 50% dismisses the effort as worthless.

The risk is always to the seller. The seller’s only protection is that a customer’s grading history is known before accepting an assignment. It’s like walking into a restaurant with your tipping record on your forehead. Mitch Ratcliffe described the “Caveat Venditor” principle a couple of months ago.

All grades and comments are recorded at both participants’ sites, so no ratings can be hidden. All data is saved as plain XML data in the web directory, so it is discoverable by spiders or purpose-built scripts.

Perhaps related to this, what is the intention behind the “transaction protocols” – do you plan on having separate “Xpertweb servers” vs. “Xpertweb clients”?

An Xpertweb “server” is just a web directory with a certain structure, like this. Each participant has their own directory, as depicted. This “server” has its own code for saving data in 3 file types:

  1. the owner’s digital ID
  2. a product or service description offered by the owner
  3. a History of each transaction (including the rating that Xpertweb is all about).

Each person may have as many Xpertweb personas as desired, and may use the tools for any or none or all of their transactions.

I ask this because my understanding of Xpertweb would leave me to believe that currently it is intended as a centralized platform via which work gets done – more specifically, a party contracts with another party to perform some unit of work, related to each part may be one (or more?) “mentors” who assist in the management of the project and in the performance of the work and may share in the fees. Fees paid are arranged to be paid on the basis of an acceptance measure, with a pre-set rate for less than perfection. Over time the past history of mentors and mentees will build up providing a documented system of “proof” of how well (or not) different parties have performed work in the past. First, is my above one (long) paragraph summary of Xpertweb even close? If not, how not?

Very close. If I’d read it first, my above answers could have been shorter, but I’ll leave them…..;-)

There is NO centralized service. Xpertweb is an agreement, really. There’s no curtain and no wizard. The only repository of knowledge and standards is each user’s series of mentors.

The idea is to build a guild-like virtual organization with no leaders but with a respect for experience and quality work.

What does it “mean” to “Use Xpertweb to conduct a transaction?”

It refers to the use of the forms starting here. Those forms require that both users have an Xpertweb site, so, implicitly, each has a mentor who set up their site and is available to support them. That’s on the principle that new software benefits from a human guide.


That’s because there are so many more tradespeople than engineers.

Why 5 Mentors, for one question that puzzles me.

One reason is to encourage a guild mentality – a non-capitalistic approach.
Another is to appeal to people’s ambition – a decidedly capitalistic approach.

From late January :

Should Xpertweb’s Designed Economy offer Hierarchical Rewards?

This is the central design question. Probably the self-generating reputation index is enough of a benefit to attract new users. But the system asks a lot of users – more than any commercial system would: you must have your own web site. You need to upload your starter kit via FTP. Where will you get a starter kit? If it’s only available from a central site, that site is a business that must charge for its service and, if the service is well received, will increase the price as it becomes a necessity.

No, there must be a mentor for each new user. Any user must be equipped to be a mentor. That means that the skill set for any user is broad. A mentor will be needed to set up every new user. Why would someone do all this? The immediate attraction is to get paid something by several generations of new users, hopefully a lot of them. The more subtle payoff is a sense of community, IF the users relate to each other as carriers of a shared, successful meme.

The reason for 5 mentors is to invoke the greed principle. 4 is not enough to generate a LOT of fees, and 6 is so over-the-top as to be outrageous. 5 generates quite a lot, but just short of obscene. Here’s a graphic, where very dot is a persona and each is the center of a ring like the larger one, connected much as dendrites connect neurons. These rings are concentric, like the relationships among bloggers and the LinkedIn model:

Mentor Fees

Mentoring is a service like any other. Each mentor is graded 01-99% by each 1st-level “mentee”. Low grades from them will automatically discount the fees paid by all the other users paying fees. In addition, each person may deny any fee for any reason, though there should be a reason.

It’s presumed that fees are a motivator. If you don’t pay fees, why should you receive any?

I stress this because mentor fees are the Xpertweb lightning rod. The fees exist because most people like money WAY more than ideas, and Xpertweb is designed to appeal to most people. For a sanity check, ask your spouse if it’s preferable for you to be involved with Xpertweb with or without the fee structure.

Offsetting that is the fact that Xpertweb is only an agreement, handed down, guild-like through a series of mentors. See this entry for other similarities to Searls’ &a
mp; Wieinberger’s World of Ends clarification engine.

The Xpertweb agreement may be modified, and those modifications are currently being discussed. Some mentors may not want to receive fees. Others may want to have all fees sent to designated charities, or parents, or political funds, etc. There is no rigid model, but the model does include the possibility of receiving enough fees to pay for an expensive college. That is not such a bad thing.

Presently our best and brightest are lured to the Wall Streets and corporate suites to become unwitting pawns in the intermediation between people’s talent and the buyers of that talent. Xpertweb proposes to be an alternate path for people whose future includes prosperity.

1:44:11 AM    

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