So, I'm new to Hubski but I've been looking for a replacement for Reddit recently. I wanted to have a discussion about the basic model that a community forum operates on but with all the pitchfork copypasta going on there I decided that this place seemed like a cool place to have this out.
After reading the linked article, I've been questioning whether a corporate startup environment is the right way to handle an online marketplace of ideas and discussion. There will always be the Imgurs and 9Gags out there to share pictures (shoutout to Plag and their fantastic app I found recently). But for larger and longer discussion that can give voice to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses maybe a different structure is needed.
I know, that's blasphemy in today's Silicon Valley or Wall Street, but maybe that's part of the problem. Basing a community on the foundation of shifting sands that is VC funding is maybe part of the problem? Haven't corporate interests shown that most people can be bought eventually? An old corporate negotiating tactic is to invite the leaders of the opposition to your ivory tower and treat them like equals. Pretty soon they start to identify with you rather than who they're supposed to be representing and you get whatever you wanted. Slashdot, Digg, SourceForge, and now Reddit seem like they were bought out that way.
So, respectfully I offer my two ideas about what may work:
Mutual Organization: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_organization Pros: This is funded by members who are customers. Extra funds can be used to invest with and be at least partially self-funded. Perhaps at $5/yr it would cover costs and have extra to drive growth and investments to maybe lower costs or offer rewards/dividends. VC funding could be used to start with the understanding that they then would be bought out when investments start to roll in. Cons: This does not preclude people being elected into powerful positions and then being more interested in squeezing the most money out of members for their own pay/bonuses. VC is always a mixed bag. Sometimes filled with angry cats.
Cooperative (perhaps Consumer or New Generation): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative Pros: Could be non-profit and able to be a little above the typical corporate capitalist drama. Because all the users are in control the likelihood that someone will try to take over for their own benefit seems less likely. Also could let you do some really cool stuff like fund clean water for a remote village or a jobs fair for homeless in a specific area. Cons: Literally all the users would have to pony up to start the deal. Trying to find a standard price to buy into at the beginning would be difficult and/or getting credit to fund at the could be SUPER dicey. Having a completely democratic structure could mean that painful decisions get done at a glacial pace or not at all.
I've also thought about voting. Intrinsically I like the idea of only having a positive option, but recently The Verge cut off comments and they used that style. I think the issues they have are much larger, but perhaps a different way of voting is possible? Perhaps you could choose one of a list of category to mark a post. Helpful or Unhelpful, Funny or Not Funny, Agree or Disagree, Insightful or Ignorant. They could be listed above and below their synonym/antonym and you could only pick one. Then you could only pick so many per day. That would make posts kind of RPG-ish but I think aid in stopping downvote brigades but still letting a variety of content be able to surface from the firehose that tens of millions of daily visits would give you.
This has gotten a bit less focused than I meant, but what are your thoughts?
(Edit for formatting)