Summary: The GORB, a site that allows us to evaluate the qualities of other human beings, is utterly gross. It represents the utter bankruptcy of the Web 2.0 economy -- with its obsession with anonymity and rating the value of things we know nothing about.

TOPICS: Browser

Even I find it hard to believe the stupidity of some of the latest Web 2.0 sites.  I came across a real gem today. The GORB was introduced to me by David Berlind. It's a site that encourages us publish our opinions about other people. Why do we need it? According to the site:

 The GORB is an online community of professionals where real life reputations are be earned and viewed by others. We accomplish this by collecting personal and professional opinions from our members and use them to drive the dynamic GORB Scoring System. Our unique social network allows members to reveal, discipline and reward the good and bad conduct of others, while openly evaluating each others' online reputation.

Reveal, discipline & reward? Does this mean that we are supposed to rate the spanking qualities of our more intimate friends? I like to be disciplined -- but this is really going too far (at least in public).

The GORB has seized the moral high ground. "Contribute to the improvement of your friends, business associates and family members by sharing your experiences with the rest of The GORB community," it tells us. In other words, publicly humiliating a friend or family member is good for them because it will improve their behaviour. 

What is particularly ridiculous about The GORB is its hypocrisy toward anonymity. The whole point of the site is to publicly expose the behaviour and qualities of others. And yet it actively encourages its users to anonymously post their thoughts about other people:

The GORB combines anonymity with accountability. If you provide an anonymous opinion about another person, and if the community around that person accepts your opinion as fair and balanced, then your reputation as a fair and objective person will be enhanced.

The GORB combines anonymity with accountability. This wins my Ministry of Truth award for the best doublespeak sentence of the week. They might as well just say: The Gorb combines truth with lies (which would actually be a lie since there doesn't seem to be anything at all truthful about The GORB) 

So what kind of sociopathic idiot is behind the GORB? Not surprisingly, the site doesn't tell us. I'm sure that the people who came up with such a tasteless idea are ashamed to admit it in public. Anyway, I'd like to reveal and discipline them, so they can be improved. I want to give them the most public of moral spankings.

So if you know the moral hooligans behind The GORB send me an email ( and I'll do my best to ruin their reputations. Don't worry though -- I won't reveal your name.

Topic: Browser

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Indeed...

    Quoth the GORB, "We believe that anonymity will produce a higher degree of truth and honesty." Of course it will, after all, that theory worked so well for Wikipedia.
  • Domain registered by...

    And the cake goes to ...THEGORB.COM

    Domain registered by:

    leonard boord
    1921 NW 82nd Ave
    Miami, Fl 33126

    ...from a public whois request
    • The About Us link is
  • Reminds me of a series of Peanuts cartoons

    The one where Lucy tries to "improve" Charlie Brown by acquainting him with all of his faults. There was even a slideshow presentation.
    John L. Ries
    • I remember that!

      Thanks for the reminder and the laugh.

      Carl Rapson
  • No way to opt out?

    This goes on my black list - from their site:

    Can I choose not to be rated?
    No, as in the real world, you do not opt-in or opt-out of your reputation. Anybody can enter your email address and get your page started. But don't be afraid, the truth is that all of us will have some negative information (like on your credit bureau) and so what? What are we supposed to be perfect or something? Let's listen to the truth about us. Let's learn and grow with this information.

    What are notifications?
    Every time that you receive a rating you will be notified via email. You can modify the frequency once you are registered in the notification section of your profile. To use this feature you must register.

    I need to register - and then only get the ability to modify the frequency of the emails? Yeah. Screw 'em.
  • Fantastic Column!

    I've been waiting for someone to blog about the moral and social impact of

    Your point about the GORB being the worst kind of hypocrite is 100% right on.

    I do however have my own take on how this relates to what's going on in general
    in society today.

    We have become a nation of self serving individuals. The point of GORB is to allow
    others to hurt people they don't like. Otherwise why the anoynmity? This is
    simply a symptom of our larger problems here.

    The main problem with this today is that this very same self serving attitude also
    powers our economy, work, lifestyle, and moral decisions. Gone are the days of
    simply working to live. We now live to work, and to reap the personal benefits this
    provides. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the American dream. I just think we
    have exceeded the original dream and replaced it with one that fufills our need to
    endlessly satisfy our desires.

    What I'm afraid of is that this will lead to the depravation of the middle class, who
    will end up bankrupting themselves (and in turn the nation) in their endless
    pursuit of greed (rather than just happiness).

    On how technology helps solidify this attitude:

    We use technology to improve our information awareness, yes it's true. We also
    misuse tech to separate ourselves from reality, that only furthers are fall into total
    • Dead on!

      This comment is dead on our social downward spiral! I really couldn't put it any better. Just the last sentence threw me off a bit: "...that only furthers are fall into" might mean "our", not "are".
  • RE: The GORB is GROSS

    An in the end the experiment demonstrated that people were not out to hurt people and that the Global gorb of all sampled user base of about 700 people was above good.

    I understand the fear factor, but in the end people on Facebook are also in a very delicate situation as they document their lives and share them publicly. But these systems work beyond our fearful imagination because the users are not seeking to hurt, but people in the norm tend to just support others. Very few on the edges of the bell curve can try to game the system or hurt or say a truth to disrupt a reputation.

    Would I design the gorb differently, yes... just to avoid the intense fear people felt when they heard about it.