See here for the dapper MIT Prof Chrysanthos Dellarocas' elaborate formula for keeping folks from fixing online reputations. It is a well done, 8 page document with scientific graphs and mathematic calculations.
It leads me to think about other reputation systems and how they work. I was hosed by a guy on Ebay (here is his email, go ahead and feel free to spam him. I know I have entered his email to every spam list I can find for the last year.) He had what appeared to be a great rep. But I noticed too late that every time I went more than 10 or 20 levels deep it went from great whuffie to dismal cussedness and claims of fraud. He had figured a way to fake reports likely by selling stuff to himself. Also, I was thinking about credit ratings and fairness. In a way credit ratings can punish those who are down, and reward the decadent. For instance if you apply for a job and they check your credit (financial whuffie) and it is hashed they don't give you the job. Sadly, if you got the job chances are you could mend your poor credit, which came from a job loss in the first place. And the guy who get's the job with his good rep has no motivation to work his tail off, because he can always get another job and live off his cards until then. I learned about this once when I hired back an alcoholic who I had previously fired; he had motivation to work harder than someone without a bad reputation.
Furthermore, they are giving $30,000 lines of credit to chimpanzees now days. Pampers come with the Visa logo on them, as some things in lif are out of reach for highschool students, but for all the rest, there is Mastercharge.
It also has produced a whole market for high interest "bad credit" purchasing. On the positive side I have clients who pay me before I send them to collections so they will not mar their high credit rating. And all these credit card abusers are motivated to go to consumer agencies to pay thier debts and repair their bad reputation.
I guess we have to face that in light of Enron and all the stock crashes, the credit industry has been kinda out of control. So possibly it is not a good model to observe. I remember buying a car at 19 with nothing but my good looks and a new job. Being amazed that they just let me walk off the lot with 3k worth of liability. I had always seen credit in the light of Gunsmoke, when uncle Festus would buy chaw on his tab at the old store because his credit was good. And when the family with a town drunk for a husband came in for supplies they were turned away as their credit was no good. (Festus would take the chaw out of his mouth and pay for thier supplies, what a good 'ol deputy.)
Nowadays it is like people think they have a right to credit. Regardless of reputation. The economic slapping we are all taking will likely correct all this. Anyhow food for thought. I think one way to keep Whuffie fair and balanced with a human face is to put high rewards to those who help others. The tendency for capitalists to use whuffie as a tool of greed, would be just as dangerous as using it as a governmental tool of manipulation. A set of balances and controls would need to be implemented to keep it the friendly sounding Whuffie from becoming a sick and depraved tool of oppression.