28 votes

Daily Tildes discussion - Metafilter

I happened to take a look at Metafilter today, and noticed that they were linking to this post from last week in their header: State of the Site: Metafilter financial update and future directions.

It's an interesting post, even as someone that only has vague knowledge about Metafilter. There's a lot there, including a ton of comments that I haven't even started reading. So I thought it would make an interesting topic for today, since Metafilter has quite a few things in common with Tildes: it's unapologetically very minimal/old-school (it's almost 20 years old), is fairly small and closed (and isn't trying to be huge), gets a lot of its income from its users, and so on.

So for those of you that do have experience with Metafilter, are there particular things that you think Tildes should learn from Metafilter or try to do differently? For people with less knowledge, is there anything in that post or the discussion that stands out to you as good things to keep in mind?

33 comments

  1. [5]
    balooga Link
    I signed up for a MetaFilter account nine years ago, after several years of lurking on it. I still have my account and visit occasionally, but my participation level eventually slowed to a trickle...

    I signed up for a MetaFilter account nine years ago, after several years of lurking on it. I still have my account and visit occasionally, but my participation level eventually slowed to a trickle and stopped three years ago. Concurrently I was part of the Great Digg Migration of 2010 and ended up on Reddit, which eventually eclipsed my MeFi usage.

    I still hold MeFi in high regard. The conversation and community there have never dropped in quality, which I think is a testament to the dedicated team of (paid) staff moderating full-time. Unconstructive comments are quickly removed, usually with a gentle but firm rebuke. In general participating there is more enjoyable than on Reddit, bearing in mind that it doesn't offer specialized subforums like Reddit or Tildes do. You get one main page, which is a grab bag. It's usually interesting but there's no place to go to pursue interest-specific discussion. I think that drawback, plus the fact that Reddit offers a great mobile experience, are the two main reasons I drifted away from MeFi.

    Things MeFi does right:

    • $5 sign-up fee and a 7-day waiting period before you can post, which I mentioned previously. I think both of these go a long way toward discouraging low-effort posters.
    • A designated place for meta discussion about the site. It can be used for official announcements, airing moderation grievances, or other miscellany (similar to ~tildes here). But what's special about MeFi's is that it's separate from the rest of the site. Posts there are not integrated with regular front page content.
    • A designated place for asking questions, á la Quora or Yahoo! Answers. Similar to the previous point, this separates out noise from the "pure" content on the main page, while providing a home for high-quality advice on just about any possible subject. I've probably spent more time on AskMeFi than MeFi proper. Especially notable: Registered users can post questions anonymously if they want (on AskMeFi only, subject to moderator approval).
    • Preview step before posting a new topic. I mentioned previously how this nudges users toward more thoughtful posting behavior. It also provides some rudimentary repost detection and tag suggestions.

    Things MeFi does less right:

    • Lack of specialized subforums. I think that's gradually shaped the sort of content people post to it, and homogenized the userbase. Earlier in the site's lifetime I think it was a more diverse place, but it seems to be more echo-chambery now.
    • Flat discussion. You lose a lot without threading, I think. It's very awkward to respond directly to someone.
    • Not a great mobile experience. As I mentioned, that's a big reason I gravitated toward Reddit. Since I've got your eyeballs already I want to highlight this comment from @Noxium and say I have the same issue. Constantly logging back in makes me not want to use Tildes on my phone. There are a lot of other UX enhancements that could improve the situation significantly.

    If you were interested in the State of the Site post @Deimos linked, you might also want to check out this follow-up which is asking some of the same sorts of questions that we are here.

    23 votes
    1. [4]
      Deimos Link Parent
      Thanks, I really appreciate you writing such a detailed comment. If we had "exemplary votes", I'd have given you one. Just a couple things I'm curious about: Is this done publicly, or do the mods...

      Thanks, I really appreciate you writing such a detailed comment. If we had "exemplary votes", I'd have given you one. Just a couple things I'm curious about:

      Unconstructive comments are quickly removed, usually with a gentle but firm rebuke.

      Is this done publicly, or do the mods generally message people privately about it?

      Constantly logging back in makes me not want to use Tildes on my phone.

      Is this mostly just because Tildes isn't usable while logged-out yet? If it was, I assume you'd just only log in if you actually wanted to post something, which is maybe uncommon when you're on your phone?

      8 votes
      1. balooga Link Parent
        It's public, and handled maturely. Typically the mod will delete offending comments and just add a comment of their own to document what happened. Since the comments are non-threaded, it appears...

        Is this done publicly, or do the mods generally message people privately about it?

        It's public, and handled maturely. Typically the mod will delete offending comments and just add a comment of their own to document what happened. Since the comments are non-threaded, it appears in the stream where it occurred. The tone is passive and maybe a bit disciplinarian, like a referee stepping onto the field to signal a penalty. They're printed in a smaller font and wrapped in brackets to set them apart; mod usernames have a little [staff] badge next to them. Some examples copy-pasted from recent MeFi threads:

        • [One deleted. Probably a good idea to read the thread before commenting.]
        • [An earlier comment deleted. Let's avoid naming someone based on rumor-based speculation about who the woman ex-friend mentioned in the article might be. Thanks.]
        • [I'm gonna give y'all like three more minutes to get the Manafort puns out of your system and then I need you to button it up.]

        It's conversational, sometimes funny. The mods are allowed to show personality and they actively participate in the site as users too. If a thread gets out of hand and users aren't listening to the mods, a mod can leave a final explanation message in the thread and lock it for any further discussion.

        I disagree with @anti that switching to a volunteer mod model would solve their budget problem. I mean, it would free up dollars, but at what cost? The mods are the heart and soul of MetaFilter. They play a tireless and ongoing role in shaping the community of the site. It would be a much different (read: worse) place if new people came in with different incentives. It's a unique, old-school approach — nothing like Reddit — but it's special and I think it should be preserved.

        Is this mostly just because Tildes isn't usable while logged-out yet? If it was, I assume you'd just only log in if you actually wanted to post something, which is maybe uncommon when you're on your phone?

        I am looking at the "new reply" notification and "new comment" markings on threads, both of which require login. Those are the biggies for me. I'm currently subscribed to all the groups (except ~test) but I expect as the number grows, I'll want to be more selective. Then logging in will be even more essential for enjoyment of the site. Besides all that, I think Tildes is really more about conversation than just consuming content. I want to be logged in so I can interact — even on my phone!

        9 votes
      2. [2]
        Tenar Link Parent
        @balooga mentioned in my sister comment that it's partially about filtering groups; you've mentioned before you don't want to do a 'front page' or /r/all type of thing, so if/when ~ becomes...

        Is this mostly just because Tildes isn't usable while logged-out yet? If it was, I assume you'd just only log in if you actually wanted to post something, which is maybe uncommon when you're on your phone?

        @balooga mentioned in my sister comment that it's partially about filtering groups; you've mentioned before you don't want to do a 'front page' or /r/all type of thing, so if/when ~ becomes viewable to non-users, what will it show them?

        3 votes
        1. Deimos Link Parent
          I'm not certain yet, but most likely something that's basically a list of links to the top-level groups, maybe with some extra info like the title of the current top post(s) in each of them.

          I'm not certain yet, but most likely something that's basically a list of links to the top-level groups, maybe with some extra info like the title of the current top post(s) in each of them.

          2 votes
  2. [8]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    This is obviously a problem you'll face as Tildes grows: how will you pay to keep it running? You're committed to keeping it non-profit and you're currently not getting any advertising revenue,...

    This is obviously a problem you'll face as Tildes grows: how will you pay to keep it running? You're committed to keeping it non-profit and you're currently not getting any advertising revenue, all of which is admirable, but how will that play out in practice? I've seen people around here hint that you're currently not in paid employment; without knowing (or wanting to know) your situation, is that sustainable? What happens when you can't devote yourself to this full-time? Or, alternatively, what happens if you need to hire someone to help you out because Tildes becomes popular?

    I don't need the answers to these questions: many of them are simply none of our business. But websites don't happen for free. What are your plans to pay for this? Donations, by definition, are voluntary - and therefore unreliable.

    How much does it cost to run this site with its current subscriber base of about 3.6k people (that calculation has to include the cost of employing one full-time developer - you - even if you're not currently paying yourself)? How much will it cost at 36k subscribers? At 360k? How will this scale up? At what point will it collapse under its own weight?

    I, personally, would be happy to pay a regular donation or monthly subscription fee (I'm currently paying for gold subscription on two Reddit accounts, so there's precedent). However, to be honest, I'm holding back for a bit until I see that this place is worthwhile paying for. But how do you intend to encourage people to pay for a service that, quite bluntly, they can get elsewhere for free?

    I assume these are questions you've considered already, before embarking on this project: the fact that you've registered a non-profit organisation to support Tildes is evidence of that. But these are the questions that come to my mind while skimming & reading that MetaFilter post. They'll go broke if their current trajectory continues: how will you stop that happening to you & Tildes?

    Another aspect to this issue is competition. It's not hard to assume that one reason MetaFilter is seeing reduced users, traffic, and revenue is because internet users are going elsewhere for their fix - places like Reddit. Now Tildes is one more competitor for a share of people's "internet time" (you may even add to MetaFilter's woes in the long-term). The market is becoming more competitive. As a new entrant to this market, you're adding to an already cluttered marketplace. How much of that market do you need to capture for Tildes to become self-sustaining? What's the critical mass needed for a website like this to work?

    19 votes
    1. [7]
      Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
      Bare sustainability of the site isn't a problem at all. Currently the costs to keep the site running (server, DNS, etc.) are right around $100 USD/month, and this server is way more powerful than...

      Bare sustainability of the site isn't a problem at all. Currently the costs to keep the site running (server, DNS, etc.) are right around $100 USD/month, and this server is way more powerful than needed. The Tildes Patreon alone is already over triple that, and I expect that this server can probably handle in the range of 100x the current traffic pretty easily.

      So just keeping the site alive definitely should never be a worry. As you said, it's really about whether it's reasonable for me (or even others) to be able to treat Tildes as a job. This is something that we pretty much just have to wait and see, which also makes it impossible to answer things like "how much market share do you need?" The rate of donations already while the site is still this tiny is encouraging (even knowing that the ratio can't possibly stay like this), and between that and looking at other examples (MetaFilter, reddit, Wikipedia, etc.), I'm pretty confident that it should be feasible. As a specific example, in the linked MetaFilter post, he says that user contributions make up about $7,500/month. That's a pretty good amount of money, and MetaFilter is a small site that doesn't push particularly hard for donations.

      And as I've said elsewhere, even if it doesn't look like I'm going to get paid enough to continue focusing on the site exclusively, I can always just pick up some other work and only work on Tildes on the side, and hope that eventually it reaches the point where I can go back to it full-time. I'm not in any financial danger, so I'm not very worried about it.

      But how do you intend to encourage people to pay for a service that, quite bluntly, they can get elsewhere for free?

      I should also mention that I was hired at reddit as the "Gold Engineer" and reddit gold was my focus for quite a while, which means I'm quite familiar with how much money they have coming in from it. That's money that people are basically donating voluntarily to a for-profit corporation that doesn't really need it, for almost no benefits (which they've even only reduced for years now). They're paying directly for a service that they're already getting for free, when their support is completely unnecessary for keeping the site alive. I don't see why we can't do at least as well with a site that does need it, and where all of the contributions will go directly towards running and improving the site in ways that the users themselves want (not paying back investors or hiring dozens of advertising sales people, etc.).

      I feel like I might have glossed over a few things, so let me know if that doesn't really answer all of your questions.

      24 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Deimos Link Parent
          Yeah, one of my friends that uses Metafilter pretty actively linked me to the post where you mentioned it. Thanks for the link to that other one too, that looks like a really interesting one to...

          Yeah, one of my friends that uses Metafilter pretty actively linked me to the post where you mentioned it. Thanks for the link to that other one too, that looks like a really interesting one to read through as well.

          And yeah, I think I'd be more interested in hearing about community dynamics, functionality, etc. from people that are pretty familiar with MetaFilter. The funding aspect is interesting too, but it seems straightforward enough to understand even without much specific knowledge of the site.

          4 votes
      2. [5]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        Even so, I find those benefits helpful to me as a moderator there. It's not quite money for nothing. I probably wouldn't pay if I was a standard user but I pay because it helps me slightly in my...

        reddit gold [is] money that people are basically donating voluntarily to a for-profit corporation that doesn't really need it, for almost no benefits

        Even so, I find those benefits helpful to me as a moderator there. It's not quite money for nothing. I probably wouldn't pay if I was a standard user but I pay because it helps me slightly in my moderating.

        let me know if that doesn't really answer all of your questions.

        I don't know if I was actually seeking information, as much as just tossing out discussion points, as well as things for you to consider if you hadn't already done so. So thanks for your response.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Deimos Link Parent
          Which benefits? One of the things I specifically did was to enable what I think are the main useful gold benefits for moderators inside their modded subreddits, even when they don't have gold.

          Even so, I find those benefits helpful to me as a moderator there.

          Which benefits? One of the things I specifically did was to enable what I think are the main useful gold benefits for moderators inside their modded subreddits, even when they don't have gold.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            You made me think! That's never a good idea. I've just checked Reddit's gold benefits, and I don't need any of the gold-specific features any more. I had thought that marking new comments was...

            You made me think! That's never a good idea.

            I've just checked Reddit's gold benefits, and I don't need any of the gold-specific features any more. I had thought that marking new comments was still only a gold feature (because it's in the box for gold features!), but you've just shown me that moderators have this ability.

            It looks like I might be cancelling my gold. See what you did? This is your fault! Never make me think.

            But that means I'll be subjected to ads... hmm...

            5 votes
            1. merick Link Parent
              You can always use an ad blocker if you don't care about Reddit's ad revenue.

              You can always use an ad blocker if you don't care about Reddit's ad revenue.

              11 votes
            2. starchturrets Link Parent
              In case you're using the redesign, turn of the autoplay ads from preferences.

              But that means I'll be subjected to ads... hmm...

              In case you're using the redesign, turn of the autoplay ads from preferences.

              2 votes
  3. [8]
    anti Link
    Considering 95% of their budget is devs and moderation, I imagine an easy way to avoid this problem would be not to pay moderators. There are plenty of people willing to volunteer their time for...

    Considering 95% of their budget is devs and moderation, I imagine an easy way to avoid this problem would be not to pay moderators. There are plenty of people willing to volunteer their time for that task.

    If the site costs are mostly staffing, keeping staff ultra-lean would be a good way to prevent budgetary problems.

    7 votes
    1. [7]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [3]
        pseudolobster Link Parent
        I was under the impression the trust system will appoint regular users with moderation powers. This eliminates the (to paraphrase Douglas Adams) "those who seek out the power to rule over others...

        I was under the impression the trust system will appoint regular users with moderation powers. This eliminates the (to paraphrase Douglas Adams) "those who seek out the power to rule over others are de facto the worst people to hold it" problem.

        I think community moderation can potentially work. Wikipedia manages it. Even though they've had enormous challenges because of it, they still give editing powers to everyone by default. This is placing trust in the idea that most people are generally good, and the good actors outnumber the bad ones. That comes across as a controversial idea, but it's worked for them anyway.

        11 votes
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            pseudolobster Link Parent
            Yeah, moderation isn't something people should aspire for. It shouldn't be treated as some kind of authority or special privilege, and moderators shouldn't be this elite class of user. It should...

            Yeah, moderation isn't something people should aspire for. It shouldn't be treated as some kind of authority or special privilege, and moderators shouldn't be this elite class of user. It should be more like jury duty. Something you don't want to have to do, but everyone eventually has to help do it once in a while and you understand why it's necessary to keep society working.

            4 votes
            1. Crespyl Link Parent
              I strongly agree, there's still a lot of things I think slashdot does right (and that I'd love to see ~ pick up), even if the site isn't what it used to be. In addition to randomly distributing...

              I strongly agree, there's still a lot of things I think slashdot does right (and that I'd love to see ~ pick up), even if the site isn't what it used to be.

              In addition to randomly distributing mod points (which, IIRC, are still weighted towards users with higher karma/trust), there is/was a meta-moderation system where users could assert that a given mod vote was correct/incorrect.

              Between having no hard line between moderators and users, meta-moderation to reign in users who abuse their mod points, and a multidimensional voting system that rewards a variety of types of good content without devolving into nothing but jokes or fluff; there's a lot to be learned from examining the site.

              I think drawing a hard line between moderators as a special class, and the common users, has a very high (maybe inherent) risk of devolving into distrust, spite, and a general sense of "in-group mods against the barbarian hordes", especially without taking deliberate actions to keep moderators accountable with tools like public logs.

              3 votes
      2. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        This old canard? I have been a moderator on Reddit for about 6 years, and it's not because of power. It's because of a desire to help and to explain. I got offered my first mod-ship because I was...

        a significant motivation for people seeking positions of moderation is power

        This old canard? I have been a moderator on Reddit for about 6 years, and it's not because of power. It's because of a desire to help and to explain. I got offered my first mod-ship because I was a helpful user around the subreddit - I never sought it out. In fact, I think I've been invited to be a moderator more times than I've asked to be one.

        I know you've tried to qualify your statement by saying that not all moderation is motivated by power, but this opinion always comes out when people are talking about moderators. Noone ever says that moderators are trying to help, or that they're trying to be constructive, or any other possible motive. The only motive ever proposed is power, and never as a secondary motive. It is the primary and most popular motive people assign to moderators - as if somehow we're trying to take over the internet.

        I'm sick of seeing this opinion bandied about so much that people assume that all moderators are power-hungry fascists - including me. Obviously I can't speak for all moderators, but this isn't true of most of the moderators I've worked with, and it isn't true of me.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Amarok Link Parent
            Most people who moderate do it for the same reason that you clean up your living room. If the place gets dirty and cluttered, it's a natural reaction. The best mods are the forum regulars who have...

            Most people who moderate do it for the same reason that you clean up your living room. If the place gets dirty and cluttered, it's a natural reaction. The best mods are the forum regulars who have that same reaction when they see the quality of the content starting to slide. They only care about the 'mess' and only wake up when things get messy, otherwise they are invisible.

            The other kind do exist - power trippers and collectors. The worst kind use the power to harass users and disrupt forums to satisfy their own egos... some use it to push their views on other people, others once they collect the 'mod bit' simply disappear and never do anything - they only care about the social 'game' of talking their way on to the team. Some even abuse their power to embed links to their sites and use the forums to make money (/r/marijuana was the original most famous case of this).

            There are some pretty odd types of mods on reddit, too. People who are very good at CSS tend to end up as mods on dozens, even hundreds of subs. They don't actually moderate content at all, all they do is build and maintain the styling. Some others who do this are anti-spam crusaders hell bent on outing and shutting down advertising and astroturfing. Some are bot experts who write and maintain custom bots for their subs. These subject-matter experts get traded around a lot, and represent many of the 'power mods' everyone is always bitching about on reddit that have spots on 300+ subreddits.

            Reddit has another class of mod too - the anti-moderation moderator. All of the original defaults were moderated by several of these people, and they prevent any moderation of content for any reason other than gross site violations like doxxing, because they take issue with it on 'free speech' grounds. These people became so problematic that reddit even instituted new mod policies so they could be forced out of their 'top slots' to facilitate more active moderators taking over.

            There are a lot of different kinds of moderators. If you're thinking they all do it 'for the power' you're grossly oversimplifying a vast, complex class of human behaviors. I would say those who are in it for the power are in it for the wrong reasons and probably should not be moderating.

            7 votes
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
                The real issue was these guys just didn't care to fight spam at all, and reddit had a problem with that when all 25/50 defaults were pushing spam and repeat topics onto the front pages all the...

                The real issue was these guys just didn't care to fight spam at all, and reddit had a problem with that when all 25/50 defaults were pushing spam and repeat topics onto the front pages all the time - making it look like reddit was shilling and fond of repeating itself. This was also part of the motivation in the ranking changes. In the beginning, those changes made sense, but I haven't got a clue what the fuck they are thinking with rankings anymore and it's gone pretty far from those early days. Funny how they do the shilling themselves now with the in-line advertising.

                Also those original 25 defaults were created by admins, not reddit users, and those anti-moderating mods were mostly appointed by them to do just that. Reddit's early admins were stunningly naive about what it takes to make moderation work. :P

                5 votes
    2. Gyrfalcon Link Parent
      This will hopefully be made easier with some of the trust aspects of the site, allowing groups to manage themselves better than they otherwise could.

      This will hopefully be made easier with some of the trust aspects of the site, allowing groups to manage themselves better than they otherwise could.

      3 votes
  4. [4]
    anowlcalledjosh Link
    I think someone (it may even have been you, Deimos) mentioned a couple of weeks ago that if Tildes ever started to run ads, eventually the revenue stream from them would become such that losing it...

    I think someone (it may even have been you, Deimos) mentioned a couple of weeks ago that if Tildes ever started to run ads, eventually the revenue stream from them would become such that losing it would seriously hurt the site - it sounds like Metafilter is undergoing that exact process now.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      cfabbro Link Parent
      That might have been me. ;) https://tildes.net/~tildes/je/lets_talk_about_that_annoying_thing_we_all_dont_want_to_think_about_funding#comment-1vy

      That might have been me. ;)

      Advertising still degrades user experience no matter how you handle it, display it or incorporate it into your site. There is no getting around that and one of ~ founding principles is catering to its users, not outside influences like advertisers.

      Once you start accepting advertising you become reliant on them which gives them power to negotiate and force you to decide between complying with their wishes and undermining your founding principles or potentially going out of business/needing to lay people off. E.g.

      Let's say an advertiser pays ~ $2000/mo just to include an img and <a href in our sidebar. Wow, awesome... that more than covers server costs and a moderate wage for @deimos! Lets do it.

      6 months from now they decide the img and link is not quite enough, so they ask for the ability to add a script to show random images amongst a pool of them. It's not an unreasonable request and since now we are potentially reliant on that $2000/mo in order for @deimos to keep working on the site full time, we agree.

      6 months later they want to add an animation to the pool instead of just an img
      6 months later they want traffic statistics from us to make sure they're getting a decent ROI on their ad.
      6 months later they want click tracking and an adblock nag screen.
      etc. etc. etc.

      So it goes... and step by inevitable step eventually our principles of user-centric focus, privacy-by-design and substantial security have been undermined and we're no different than our competitors.

      https://tildes.net/~tildes/je/lets_talk_about_that_annoying_thing_we_all_dont_want_to_think_about_funding#comment-1vy

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        teaearlgraycold Link Parent
        But without that money ~ might just die instead. If the contract that gets written keeps the starting terms for a guaranteed period of time you can drop the advertiser if they become too pushy....

        But without that money ~ might just die instead. If the contract that gets written keeps the starting terms for a guaranteed period of time you can drop the advertiser if they become too pushy. Worst case ~ lasts another year thanks to ad revenue.

        2 votes
        1. cfabbro Link Parent
          Why would ~ die just because it doesn't accept advertising money? AFAIK the server costs are already largely covered from donations, so now it's just a matter of getting @deimos a reasonable wage...

          Why would ~ die just because it doesn't accept advertising money? AFAIK the server costs are already largely covered from donations, so now it's just a matter of getting @deimos a reasonable wage so he can continue to work on the site full time. @deimos has already stated the worst case scenario is that ~ becomes a side project and development slows down while he finds work elsewhere.

          9 votes
  5. est Link
    Total outsider of MeFi. Heard of it years ago, tried to use it, but ultimately failed because of the webpage design. It's very hard to read and jump between comments. Also, can not find content...

    Total outsider of MeFi. Heard of it years ago, tried to use it, but ultimately failed because of the webpage design. It's very hard to read and jump between comments. Also, can not find content that interest me, there is no "hot" section which is usually the quickest way to get to know the community.

    4 votes
  6. [5]
    merick Link
    How do you feel about a feature similar to Reddit Gold? Something people can pay for to recognize/gift other users. It's effectively a donation, but it carries more value and incentive to do so....

    How do you feel about a feature similar to Reddit Gold? Something people can pay for to recognize/gift other users. It's effectively a donation, but it carries more value and incentive to do so. Obviously, it doesn't need to be exactly the same, you could put a Tildes spin on it.

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Deimos Link Parent
      I'd definitely like to do something like that, I've seen how well it's worked out for reddit via gilding. I think tying it in to the "exemplary votes" might be an interesting possibility, though...

      I'd definitely like to do something like that, I've seen how well it's worked out for reddit via gilding. I think tying it in to the "exemplary votes" might be an interesting possibility, though we'd have to be careful so that it doesn't end up as a way to pay for posts to be given more visibility.

      6 votes
      1. merick Link Parent
        That's definitely something I'm worried about. I was thinking that it shouldn't have any weight in voting or visibility. I thought about giving "gilded" people some exclusive features, but that...

        we'd have to be careful so that it doesn't end up as a way to pay for posts to be given more visibility

        That's definitely something I'm worried about. I was thinking that it shouldn't have any weight in voting or visibility. I thought about giving "gilded" people some exclusive features, but that kinda goes against the open nature of Tildes.

        Recognition would be nice and rewarding, but I'm not sure how to do that while following Tildes' general mindset. Maybe have it displayed on a user's profile saying how many times they have been gifted? Could also show how much a user has donated through gifts on their profile. Aside from that, I think minor things like maybe changing their username's color on comments and posts would be cool. While that does draw attention to that person's comments/posts, I don't think it's significant enough to matter.

        3 votes
      2. wonderfulspam Link Parent
        How about a system in which you would gild someone for being a valuable contributor in general rather than visibly gilding a particular post? Being gilded would then jump you up the ladder of the...

        How about a system in which you would gild someone for being a valuable contributor in general rather than visibly gilding a particular post? Being gilded would then jump you up the ladder of the trust system for the tildes group in question. I suppose this could be abused by someone wanting to buy their way to power but I feel like this could easily be prevented by only giving trusted users the ability to gild others.

        1 vote
      3. Tenar Link Parent
        How about access to beta features or something like that? something special, but not necessarily pay-to-win?

        How about access to beta features or something like that? something special, but not necessarily pay-to-win?

  7. metal Link
    Since ads is a slippery slope, there should be a great subscription system, I think. Something like reddit gold that can be gilded to others but with more pronounced and better benefits. I...

    Since ads is a slippery slope, there should be a great subscription system, I think. Something like reddit gold that can be gilded to others but with more pronounced and better benefits. I honestly don't have any obvious cool benefits that could be added but subscription is probably one of the best option for monitisation.

    2 votes
  8. Tenar Link
    this comment begging for favourites got a laugh out of me And to bring it around to a more serious interpretation: being creative is most definitely possible. (these are kind of rambly thoughts,...

    this comment begging for favourites got a laugh out of me

    And to bring it around to a more serious interpretation: being creative is most definitely possible. (these are kind of rambly thoughts, sorry)

    1. You've mentioned wiki, which runs great but is quite aggressive in asking for donations—something you could learn from, perhaps? Maybe not quite that in-your-face, but a part of user settings that mentions donations or something, as a reminder, or something about donations that isn't in a footer?
    2. clutter/things you can buy like shirts or whatever
    3. raffles or competitions or whatever, maybe even with prize money going 50/50 to winner and ~ or something (could be used in combination with #2)
    4. Tildes being invite only excepting x amount of time in the week where anyone can sign up, or y amount of time where you can donate z amount to get an invite
    5. a bandcamp like model where you can get it for free or donate x amount per month (i.e. ask for donations at some point, maybe signup, maybe later, but have the default be $3 per month or whatever and someone has to actively click no)
    6. someone over in the MeFi comments mentioned amazon smile which Tildes should qualify for? Maybe make people aware of that?
    7. I think there was a thing a while ago about Mozilla grants or something? It's definitely not a long-term solution but would help you in these few months, and might be worth considering.

    And one more thought: have you considered payed moderators, or some such?

    2 votes