Until Proven Guilty

How much trust do you have in a person? I suppose it depends on how you’re related to that person, if it’s a close family member you put in a lot of your trust and if it’s somebody you don’t know at all, you are a lot more hesitant. Trust has to be earned and so it’s almost as valuable as respect (and perhaps more). How do you trust a person you don’t know? You get to know that person, you talk with that person and you get to know what kind of a person he really is. After a sufficient amount of time that’ll vary depending on how trusting you are, you’ll know that you’re willing to stand as surety if that person wants a loan. In the end, trust boils down to acceptance without concrete proof. I’m sure it’s all very complicated than that sentence, but I think I can, within limits, define trust like that. Let’s see the dictionary definition of


[1] the trait of trusting; of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; “the experience destroyed his trust and personal dignity”
[2] certainty based on past experience; “he wrote the paper with considerable reliance on the work of other scientists”; “he put more trust in his own two legs than in the gun”

Yes, pretty similar. You get to trust a person by knowing what kind of person he really is. So what if you can’t get to know the person? In the magic wonderful peculiar world of the World Wide Web, nobody really knows who anybody else is. The girl that you’re flirting with could be a 60yr old man. I’ll leave other problems to your imagination, but my thesis is simple: since you can’t be sure who that person is, you can’t trust him.

Or can you? Since the net has started, people have looked for a solution to this problem, because as I said earlier, trust is important for any human gathering. From very early trust groups to a more recent attempt, people have tried hard to bring trust into the equation. Attempts like Friendster fail to ensure any kind of perfect trust. But Friendster works as it does in real life. The people closer to you, you can trust more. But it still fails because it’s not easy to make new friends when you really can’t find out who that person is.

Now you’all will hear my solution. In fact, it’s not mine, it’s lifted off law books: Innocent until Proven Guilty. For the ten thousands of perverts there on the net, there are ten million good people out there. There is a chance (as there is a chance in real life too) that you’ll come to trust one of those bad people. But people are, and should be, innocent until proven guilty, never the other way around. I suppose, in the end, it all comes down to trust. You should have enough.

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