||I have been searching for a symbol that signifies trust
relationships as they apply to trustworthiness in software. I
settled on a simple symbol consisting of a cyclic geometric shape around
the image of a handshake.
It became very difficult to hold onto my vision of what TROST and the TROSTing idea supply until I found a single symbol that gave voice to my concerns and interests in championing open-system trustworthiness.
I confess that the symbol also confronts me with all of the ways that I am unreliable and careless in managing my commitments. There's a chasm for me to cross and this project brings up every gap as I'm tempted to deflect trustworthiness to something technical and away from how slippery I be at making. managing, and keeping promises.
The symbol is a keeper. The important work remains.
— Dennis E. Hamilton
2005 July 20
The symbol is a fusion of several elements:
It has become clear in exploring ideas of trust that trustworthiness in artifacts is not about the artifact. Software is not trustworthy. It's just software. The hardware is just hardware. The computer system doesn't care and has no volition in the matter of our relying on it. Where we see trustworthiness in software is in evoking the producer's caring, by design, for our purposes and success. (It's that attention and care that I speak of as TROSTing.) Trustworthiness is affirmed in the ways the producer steps in to resolve breakdowns that we may encounter (a reminder I'm grateful to Hal Macomber for).
We do not negotiate with the computer when there is a breakdown, even though there may be support for resolution of problems incorporated in the software. Ultimately we resort to the producer of the product, not the artifact, for resolving the breakdown. We rely on others, whether for rescue or remedy. Even when we say "Word lost my document," we really mean that Microsoft exposed us to that risk in how the artifact is designed to work. The next time some software or computer-related service isn't working for you, listen for who you hold responsible. Is it really the program? Or is it how you feel carelessly dealt with by some anonymous (though named) party?
The symbol of trust says, for me, how I as a producer (of words or software or any other fulfillment of a commitment) am called to be careful—full of care—and have the courage to trust myself and those I deal with in my being trustworthy for them.
The source materials and analysis that led to the symbol is provided in further pages of this InfoNote:
created 2005-06-23-23:16 -0700 (pdt) by