Pietrust FAQ

The Product: General

Q: Is the product commercially available today?

A: No. We have completed a prototype and are now working to turn it into a robust, highly-available web service. The prototype includes an implementation of a collusion-resistant reputation algorithm, an API to access the system, and an optional frontend which users can use to give evaluations and view scores. Contact us if you would like to see our prototype or if you would like to be an alpha-tester when the system is ready.

Q: What's it good for?


The Product: more detail

Q: What if someone creates a million fake user accounts and rates themselves highly? Can they take all the money?

A: If the users' pie charts were simply averaged together, or used like votes, then this would be a problem. But the way that Pietrust calculates PieShare is carefully designed to ensure that the system cannot be gamed in this way. The fake accounts will only receive reputation in proportion to how highly they are rated by other users in good standing.

Q: Does the seed group get more reputation? Do they decide how much reputation everyone else gets?

A: No; for most purposes, they are on the same footing as the other group members. Their role is as a tie-breaker. Technically, they do have a little more influence, but not much; or at least, not much unless they choose to game the system in a way that is clearly visible to the rest of the community.

Q: Can people see each others' evaluation?

A: Yes, all evaluations are public, to promote accountability. In the future, we may add an option to have private evaluations. Please email us if you would like this feature.

Q: What if someone is a valuable contributor but an inflammatory personality? We want to reward this person well for their work, but we don't want them to determine how much everyone else gets.

A: By default, each user gives each other user a single evaluation; optionally, any person can choose to give any other person two ratings; how much that person should be paid, and how much influence that person should have over others. This is more complicated, but it allows these two considerations to be separated. This feature is not yet implemented.

Q: I'd like more detail, please

A: Contact us if you'd like technical details on how the system works.

The Project

Q: Can I join the project?

A: Yes, email us below. PieTrust itself is an open project using our own system to evaluate participants. If you join us and substantially assist in development, you'll share in the proceeds of the business, if any, provided certain legal and financial criteria are met. We hope to realize Alex Stigsen's vision of an open company.

Q: Is it open-source?

A: At launch, the source code will be freely downloadable and modifiable from places like bitbucket and github, however it will carry a license similar to CC BY-SA-NC that will only permit free noncommercial usage (we also plan to give free licenses to commercial open-source projects, and to small startups).

In addition, we will relicense each version to the Affero GPL 3.0 two years after it is checked into our repo.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: Pietrust is free to our closed alpha-testers during alpha testing. After launch, our plan (which we may revise) is for basic usage of Pietrust to be free for non-commercial projects, and also free for small for-profit groups, and on a per-seat subscription basis for others, or for advanced features. We also plan to charge small fees for Paypal transactions, mailing checks, and high volume usage.

Q: Who are you?

A: We are a geographically distributed, open community with between 5-10 regular contributors and a larger number of occasional contributors.

Contact us

To get in touch with us, email:

Copyright 2009-2011 Pietrust. "Pietrust" and "Pieshare" are our trademarks.