Disclaimer 1- Digressing from usual topics
Disclaimer 2 - One of my sunday night (impending monday morning) insanities...
Just was thinking about web pages was wondering if the same equations come into play while assigning authority to a page as they come while we assign authority to a person in our society..Let's think about it:
1) Sphere of influence - People who have larger sphere of influence (a successful social worker (Mother Teresa) or an successful enterpreneur- Ambanis) - are the people who are weigthed higher. You know them because they are the people who matter to a lot of people - Similarly web pages who are being linked to from lots of pages are perceived to be important by page rank algorithm.
2) "Known to be good" - At some point these people had earned name and the brand name is continuing - especially true in India where a well-known family is always a well-known family. It is easy to know who they are as we always knew who they are (example - We always knew Princess Diana). Similarly we have known good web pages - wikipedia, microsoft.com etc
3) Junk - Though every person is useful for atleast one person (dude - himself, dudette - herself) - they are the set of the people whom the remaining other set detest - these could be chors, roberrers or beggars (believe it or not in today's world poverty is sin) - while it is easy to identify the last category, it is difficult to identify the conmens. And yes these category of people map to our junk pages - some of them harmful, some of them them useless. Some easily identifiable - some you will never identify.
4) Middle class - This is my kinda category - these are the people - not exactly junk (they believe so) and definitely not the most influential people in the society (and they know so). They might/might not be important for the small set of people who know them. What elevates them from junk - we don't know - is it the fact that they are good( 2 am friends) or is it a larger sphere of influence (big gangs), or is it some latent attribute we are unaware of. Are they still junk - we don't know that too. And that is the category where most of the web pages fall- middle class.
And there lies the challenge of a good ranking algorithm - how do we order all these middle class pages...tough job if you ask me.