David McCusker has a beautiful short piece on overcomplex technology. We should be asking ourselved, "is there a simpler way?" far more often.
In the case of trust metrics, there definitely was "goal drift". I started out trying to make a better PKI, and came up with the tmetric ideas as part of that. Since then, I've come to consider PKI too hard, and in need of a fundamental rethink. The tmetric ideas still seem sound to me, though.
davidw points out that a hardware metadata site without the trust metric would still be useful. Of course. I think a good rule of thumb is whether you want to automate important decisions. If your query is: "what kind of reliability can I expect from a JXQ-11?", then it's reasonable to wade through the trolls, spammers, etc. (if any), and you probably win it all back in overall simplicity. But part of my idea is that you'd use such data to automatically figure out orders to place electronically. Then, you really do start to care about people putting false information into the system.