Last night I attended an entertaining reading/booksigning by Cory Doctorow at BookSmith. He read from chapter six of his excellent first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (which I happen to be reading currently--I'm on chapter five, so his reading made for a nice preview), and also from his upcoming book Eastern Standard Tribe.
I asked Cory what inspired his use of the word Whuffie for the currency in the reputation economy of Down and Out. First he discounted the theory someone had suggested to him that it's a contraction of Whit Diffie--a plausible explanation since Whuffie must have some kind of inherent crypto system. Then he explained that when he was in school 'whuffie points' were used like 'brownie points,' which he later came to beleive came from Arsenio Hall's 'woof woof.'
Cory has published Down and Out under a Creative Commons license, and has made it available as a free download. I hope this model of publishing works and that many authors follow his lead successfully. I bought a hardcopy, but knowing I can always grep for passages gives me a warm feeling inside.