Wired ran an article last fall about vulnerabilities becoming apparent in various “Web 2.0” applications (whatever those are). Some are similar to spam in email: for example, splogs (fake blogs created to attract search engine interest and drive viewers to see their Viagra ads).
Many interesting social computing applications have enough openness that they are vulnerable to misuses and manipulations. A traditional approach is to develop technical means to close or limit the vulnerabilities (like filters for spam). We know that the inevitable trade-off between the benefits (even necessity) of some degree of openness for social applications and the resulting vulnerability means technical solutions are unlikely to be 100% satisfactory. That leaves open the room for incentive-based mechanisms to discourage misuse of social computing applications, like the various payment schemes proposed to fight spam. What incentive scheme might reduce splogging, for example?
For many social computing applications, financial incentive schemes may be undesirable, suggesting a growing need to develop effective non-pecuniary incentive mechanisms.