It’s actually rather simple to explain why it’s not a good idea to trust the “Web Of Trust”.
They use a simple Likert scale rating system. The format of a typical five-level Likert item is:
- Strongly disagree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Strongly agree
BUT – it is a known fact (not only among scientists) that Likert scales may be subject to distortion from several causes:
- Respondents may avoid using extreme response categories (central tendency bias);
- agree with statements as presented (acquiescence bias);
- or try to portray themselves or their organization in a more favorable light (social desirability bias).
That “distortion” as described in Nr. 2 happens in – at least – two places at MyWOT:
- activity points – people want to get platinum to gain access to the Mass Rating Tool as soon as possible;
- “secret” user reputation – this is the individual user “trust” which represents the “power” a user has when rating a website.
- The later (secret user reputation) also is part of Nr. 3: the social desirability bias. This “social desirability” is something which also is underlined in the community, where people get intimidated and slandered if they don’t swim with the rest of the fish in there.
To keep it short: MyWOT got the Likert scale wrong like amateurs do.