Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sharing Communities and Upload Ratio

Bittorent file sharing communities are set up such that files can be shared more efficiently ; selfish agents that download but do not upload can be detected by their poor upload ratio and banned from the community.

It becomes absurd, however, when the minimum sharing ratio is set to a figure greater than 1. Since each uploaded byte must correspond to a downloaded byte, if someone has upload ratio greater than 1, then someone must have downloaded more than uploaded. If an altruist is defined as being an agent with a sharing ratio of greater than 1, then it is clear that any closed community of agents cannot be solely comprised of altruists.

If however the sharing rule is temporarily waived for new agents, say for the first week, then it is possible for everyone to be altruistic, barring new agents. However, this requires a continuous stream of new agents joining the community, which is unfeasible in the extreme run.

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