About Trust and distrust — Rebuttal of @hackeducation on blockchains (Part 1)

Serge Ravet
Apr 19, 2016 · 4 min read

Introduction

Audrey Watters recently published in @hackeducation a series of posts in the hope “of writing a clear explanation […] of what blockchain is”: The Blockchain in Education: Questions, The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction, and The Ideology of the Blockchain (for Education).

As there is a lot to “unpack” from those three posts, I will only focus on the most salient points.

And to provide a simple definition of a blockchain for this post (source):

Yes, that’s all what it is, yet it changes everything!

In the first post, The Blockchain in Education: Questions, the last question is:

There is a lot to “unpack” here: first, there is a confusion between and . If the question was about , then one should develop the question around Building an argumentation about to support an argument on is a non sequitur. Some researchers (e.g., Priester and Petty, 1996; Lewicki et al., 1998) argue that trust and distrust are separate dimensions, and thus not opposite ends of one single dimension or continuum (source). Other authors, Steven Van de Walle, Frédérique Six, explain why trust and distrust should be addressed as distinct concepts:

As I have argued several times, many of the so-called “trust technologies” should be rechristened “distrust technologies.” With the first ones, trust is the natural state and “distrust” is produced as the result of experience, while with the others, “distrust” is the default state and “trust” has to be earned.

One can make a parallel with conditional and unconditional love: conditional love, especially with children is destructive (see here and here). This should be an invitation to reflect on the idea of the dangers of and benefits of :

Julie Lunt <julie at newpaths.eu>

The anecdote is unambiguously an example of , the kind that can heal. The problem with Audrey Watters’ question on is what she is really trying to address is . She is victim of the kind of confusion that lead me write: the deleterious effects of mistaking security for trust.

The next point I need to raise is the institution-centric view and the implicit defence of the current power relationships between institutions and individuals: “followed by the rhetorical question: the potentially lying student or the potentially incompetent issuer? At no time the question considers the learner as a sapient agent that has (and distrust!) creating thus the conditions for the emergence of alternatives to formal credentials.

These views are developed further in the latest post:

For Audrey Watters, a blockchain seems to be something that is necessarily done the learners, if not them. does not seem to be a question of interest to the author.

BadgeChain

An open repository of posts, news, & notes as we explore the intersection of blockchain technologies, learning recognition, and digital credentialing

Serge Ravet

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BadgeChain

An open repository of posts, news, & notes as we explore the intersection of blockchain technologies, learning recognition, and digital credentialing