First here are some of my own opinions about what is right. I have no objection to a technology that identifies the creator of a message as some particular real person. I would like to inhabit a world where pseudonyms were also welcome. I am annoyed at spam and even the small amount of time it takes to expunge it. I am annoyed at the loss of legitimate messages accidentally lost as spam is expunged. It should be possible for a pseudonym to create and maintain a reputation.
Digital Silk Road solves a few of these problems but does not address reputations directly. I assume here that to be a nym is to hold the secret key of an RSA key-pair. I make no assumptions about whether programs can be nyms but a nym seems to need a program running on a suitable platform to play the rôle of a nym. (I am not aware of any commercial suitable platforms just now.)
Identity servers have become popular today. Such a server typically wants to know who you really are and vouches for you as you gain access to some other internet service. I think that current identity servers are in business by learning what sites you frequent in order to sell this information to those who would sell things to you. I do not like people selling information about me to others and I propose simple alternative business plans here. Perhaps these alternative business plans are orthogonal to other identity issues here.
Here is a world that I think that I would like to inhabit. There are a variety identity institutions who have their own reputations to guard. They deal in identities of others and claim that those that they vouch for have variously defined attributes. Most of these institutions are businesses. Here is a particular business plan that would work I think. GoodGuys (GG) is the institution. You can pay GG a fee and they will recommend your public key for some duration. This can be an anonymous transaction. GG has the right, at its sole discretion, to cease these vouchings without warning and without returning the fee. GG’s incentive not to do so is to guard their reputation against other clients. GG’s incentive to do so is to guard GG’s own reputation by maintaining the aggregate reputation of those for whom they vouch. This plan is rather like surety services.
Some such institutions would guarantee that they knew the real people and were subject to particular subpoena jurisdictions. Some would even tell you outright who their nyms were. I can imagine various other plans.